SAINT-GAUDENS AND THE GILDED AGE by Louise Hall Tharp

SAINT-GAUDENS AND THE GILDED AGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is one of those biographies which bristles with fine research but is infuriatingly obtuse and inconclusive when dealing with the heart of a man's work and the man himself, although the assiduous Mrs. Tharp has had a good deal of success in the past with her limnings of nineteenth century (mainly Eastern U.S.) luminaries. It appears here that the life of the sculptor Saint-Gaudens was a steady upward progression as far as recognition was concerned. General Sherman, the Chicago Lincoln, the Shaw Memorial in Boston, and the Adams Memorial in Washington, D.C., are probably his most loved and renowned work and epitomize the Grand Style of American exuberance in substantial public monuments. However, Saint-Gaudens' private life was not serene--his marriage to the loyal but formidable Augusta Homer was rocky, not helped by his affair with the young model, Davida, by whom he had a child, plaintively immortalized in a little medallion, titled Novy. But in this biography one can only guess at Saint-Gaudens' creative impetus and personality from the snatches of letters, remembered conversations, and the photographs of his work. Certainly the sculptor possessed both a shrewd appreciation of the public's taste for massive and ostentatious tributes and also a sense of spiritual character and grace. There seems to be no other full-scale biography in print at present, so for students, antiquarians and fanciers--perhaps.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1969
Publisher: Little, Brown