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Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire)

1893–94, cast 1894 or after
28 1/4 x 16 1/4 x 14 in. (71.8 x 41.3 x 35.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1985
Accession Number:
  • Description

    In 1891, Madison Square Garden, designed by Stanford White, opened to the public with great fanfare. White (1853 - 1906), an old friend and artistic collaborator of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, modeled the Garden's tower after the tower of the Giralda which adjoins the cathedral of Seville in Spain. The architect wanted to have a revolving weather vane for his tower in the same manner as it Spanish prototype. Aware of Saint-Gaudens' desire to model ideal compositions, White gave the sculptor the opportunity to create the finial. The original Diana was 18 feet high and proved too large and cumbersome for White's tower. It was removed and replaced by a thinner and more streamlined 13-foot version in 1893. Diana was the only nude in Saint-Gaudens' oeuvre, and like many nude sculptures, it was often chastised by a puritanical public. Nevertheless, Saint-Gaudens viewed Diana as one of the crown jewels in his career. He created statuettes in three variants, of which this cast is of the rare, second type. The graceful elegance of this Diana is partially the result of the exquisite chasing defining her hair and facial features. The sculpture is further enhanced by a rich matte gold colored patination composed of gold, copper, and zinc, and applied by the electroplating process.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: [top of base, front, right]: A St GAUDENS

    Marking: [foundry mark, back of base]: E • GRUET Jne FONDEUR PARIS •

  • Provenance

    Lincoln Kirstein, until 1985

  • See also