Daniel Chester French (1850–1931) and Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) were the preeminent American sculptors of the Gilded Age. As friendly rivals, they transformed sculpture in the United States, producing dozens of the nation’s most recognizable public artworks—from Saint-Gaudens’s Diana atop New York City’s Madison Square Garden to French’s Seated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC. Drawing upon the collections of the two artists’ historic homes, Chesterwood and the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, Monuments and Myths is the first exhibition to explore the artists’ intersecting careers and features approximately seventy sculptures, models, maquettes, and more.
While learning about the lives and careers of both artists, guests will be offered an expansive narrative that reflects the multifaceted stories embedded in the art. Amid massive industrial growth and developing sociopolitical structures, the sculptors produced aesthetically graceful and socially potent artworks that shaped and reflected America’s complicated negotiation of national identity in the years between the Civil War and the Great Depression.
This exhibition is co-organized by the American Federation of Arts, Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Saint-Gaudens Memorial in partnership with the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.
Presented in part by