This publication, the first of two volumes, presents a definitive new catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum's distinguished and comprehensive holdings of American sculpture. Since 1872, when the first piece of American sculpture entered the new Metropolitan Museum of Art, the number of examples dating from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century has grown to approximately four hundred. The collection is particularly strong in neoclassical and Beaux Arts sculpture and is acclaimed for its preeminent group of life-size statues in marble and bronze. The Museum's holdings accurately document the history of American sculpture and its development as a profession, from the artists who lived in Italy and carved in marble and those who studied in Paris and cast in bronze, to those who worked only in the United States and were pioneers in the techniques of their art. The collection includes premier examples of neoclassical ideal nudes, expressive genre statuettes, naturalistic representations of Native American subjects, studies for and reductions after monumental sculpture, dramatic depictions of animals, and many portraits in the preferred styles and materials of each period. High points in the careers of such renowned sculptors as Hiram Powers, Erastus Dow Palmer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Frederick William MacMonnies are represented. Volume 1 begins with an introduction on the history of the Museum's collection, particularly in the context of the outstanding personalities who have been involved in its formation. A summary biography of each of the 61 sculptors and entries for each of the 198 objects incorporate the most up-to-date scholarship as well as documentation from the wealth of archival material at the Museum. The sculpture has been specially photographed by Jerry L. Thompson for illustration in the catalogue.
Volume 2, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born between 1865 and 1885, scheduled for publication in 2000, will present nearly 200 works by 70 sculptors, including such acclaimed artists as Gaston Lachaise, Elie Nadelman, and Paul Manship.