Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Singing Boys

Artist:
Herbert Adams (American, West Concord, Vermont 1858–1945 New York)
Date:
1894
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
36 1/4 x 44 1/2 in. (92.1 x 113 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Bequest of Charles W. Gould, 1931
Accession Number:
32.62.2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
Adams’s engaging relief of Evan, Arnold, and William Fraser-Campbell depicts the brothers gathered around a music scroll. The marble bears stylistic and compositional indebtedness to bas-reliefs by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who also had a summer home in Cornish, New Hampshire. “Singing Boys,” one of Adams’s earliest forays into relief sculpture, was modeled in Cornish in summer 1894 and follows Saint-Gaudens’s lead through a skillful combination of high and low relief and the use of decorative inscriptions. The natural forms that occupy the background are rendered so as to form a curtain, while the inscriptions with the heraldic device at the lower left are the mottoes of the Fraser and Campbell families. Although the circumstances of the portrait’s commission are unclear, it was likely ordered by Charles W. Gould, a friend of the Fraser-Campbell family and later a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum (1915-30).
Signature: [in wreath, lower right]: CORNISH / NEW • HAMPSHIRE / HERBERT • ADAMS / MDCCCXCIV

Inscription: [left]: EVAN • ARNOLD • AND • WILLIAM / FRASER • CAMPBELL; [right]: WHEN • THEY • WERE • TEN • EIGHT / AND • FIVE • YEARS • OF • AGE; [on scrolls with heraldic device, lower left]: JE SVIS PREST / BE MINDFUL / FRASER CAMPBELL
Charles W. Gould, by 1896 – d. 1931
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