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Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907)
Birth Place Dublin, Ireland
Death Place Cornish, New Hampshire
Born Mar. 1, 1848
Died Aug. 3, 1907
General Notes Seven months after he was born in Dublin, Augustus Saint-Gaudens immigrated with his family to New York City. By age sixteen he was attending drawing class at the Cooper Union and apprenticing in the studio of a cameo cutter. Earlier American sculptors had typically gone to Florence or Rome to study the classical tradition. But Saint-Gaudens went to Paris in 1867, to the École des Beaux-Arts, where he discovered artists working not in marble but in bronze-modeling works in clay or wax to be cast, patinated, and polished. Contemporary French sculpture was fresh and spontaneous, revealing the creator's hand. Saint-Gaudens also went to Italy, where he found inspiration in Renaissance bronzes and in the artful plazas that sculptors and architects together had created to honor heroic men and celebrate civic virtue. During the boom years following the Civil War, American public spaces in growing urban centers were ideal sites for similar tributes, and Saint-Gaudens collaborated with the architect Stanford White (1853-1906) to realize the dramatic possibilities of sculpture in these settings. Dividing his time between New York and his studio in Cornish, New Hampshire, he remained active until his death, creating naturalistic sculptural landmarks to beautify and ennoble the urban landscape.
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