Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, 1848-1907)

Saint-Gaudens is one of the most influential American sculptors of the Beaux-Arts generation, known for blending classical and current, and European and American styles. In 1861, he became an apprentice to a cameo-cutter, and took classes at the Cooper Union in New York City. He then traveled to Paris in 1867, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1870, he left Paris for Rome to study art and architecture, and worked on his first commissions.

Returning to New York, Saint-Gaudens achieved major success for his monuments of American Civil War—some of the most famous are still standing, including the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Abraham Lincoln, the General John Logan Memorial in Chicago’s Grant Park, and William Tecumseh Sherman in Central Park. Saint-Gaudens also sculpted classical works such as the Diana, which became the first statue in the Manhattan area to be lit by electricity. He also designed the $20 Double Eagle gold piece for the US Mint and the $10 “Indian Head” gold eagle. He later founded the “Cornish Colony”, an artist’s colony in New Hampshire that included notable painters, sculptors, writers, and architects, including Thomas Dewing, George de Forest Brush, Paul Manship, and Maxfield Parrish. Saint-Gaudens also taught at the Art Students League of New York, took on many assistants, was an artistic advisor to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and an avid supporter of the American Academy in Rome.