The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 34, August 23, 2009, Article 5


Rich Jewell submitted this review of an interesting item he recently acquired: a catalogue of a Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. -Editor

Saint Gaudens Expo1 I have Augustus Saint Gaudens bookmarked on eBay and the above mentioned catalogue was entered for sale and I won it! I thought your readers might be interested in a personnel book review of a 1909 Memorial Exhibition catalogue held at the Carnegie Institute.

Augustus Saint Gaudens Memorial Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, MCMIX that's the cover to this one hundred year old catalogue. The cover itself is in remarkable condition considering its age. That's not to say it doesn't have a few creases and rips. You open to the first couple of pages and you know right away this catalogue is very unusual, the pages are roughly sewn, not the smooth surfaces we are used to seeing in today's finely tuned printed specimens. Once again technology has advanced somewhat in a hundred years.

The memorial exhibition was held at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA. from April 29th to June 13th, 1909. The Fine Arts Department under its Director John W. Beatty, M.A. sponsored the event. Some of the Trustees of the Carnegie in 1909 included some very powerful and influential Western Pennsylvanians (and maybe why this exhibition took place in Pittsburgh): John A. Brashear, George H. Clapp, Andrew W. Mellon and W. Lucien Scaife just to name a few.

Saint Gaudens Expo2 A Few Words of Appreciation by John W. Beatty covers pages four through eleven where he expresses his praise of the sculptor's work, "In the Sherman monument, there is expressed the glory of the triumphant conqueror; in the Shaw Memorial, the courage and devotion of the patriot; and in the Lincoln, the patience, and solicitude or love of the great President." He concludes his five page Appreciation with the following thought "He possessed the power to portray an exalted thought in truthful terms, as have few men in the history of art."

Pages 13 through 26 gives a history of Saint Gaudens and is signed H. ASPET.(Could this mean his son, Homer wrote this biography while at ASPET, their family estate at Cornish, New Hampshire?)

Saint Gaudens Expo3 Page 27 lists Honors and Degrees awarded to Augustus Saint Gaudens among them are some of the following: Corresponding Member, Institute of France; Officer of the Legion of Honor, 1901; Member, Royal Academy of the Sciences and Letters of the Beaux Arts, Belgium; Member, American Academy in Rome, 1905; Member, Royal Academy, London; Medal of Honor, Paris, 1900; Special Medal of Honor, Buffalo, 1901; Grand Prize, St. Louis, 1904; A Founder of the Society of American Artists; Member of the National Academy of Design and a number of honorary degrees from Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities.

Pages 29 through 92 lists all of the 132 works of Saint Gaudens donated(lent) by a who' who in American culture at the turn of the century. Mrs. Augustus Saint Gaudens lent a few items from the Cornish Studios among them were: a low relief bronze medal of John S. Sargent, signed and dated Paris, 1880: a low relief of Homer Saint Gaudens dated New York, 1882; a plaster cast from bronze high relief of Amor Caritas; Diana, a bronze cast from a study for the head, without date.

Other contributors included: Daniel Chester French, Louis Saint Gaudens, C. F. McKim, Mrs. Glover Cleveland, Kenyon Cox, Misses Hettie E. Anderson, Mrs. John Hay, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University, ANS, The United States Mint, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Henry Hering and the list goes on.

The catalogue describes each item with at least a paragraph of vital information and the dozen or so black and white photo plates add to the overall effectiveness of this rare one hundred year old memorial.

Many thanks to Richard for bringing this item to our attention - it's not something I'd come across before, and I have a lot of Saint-Gaudens items in my library. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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