Monday, August 9, 2010

a great discovery--Saint Gaudens

Recently my DH and I found the most wonderful hidden place to visit. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH just a couple of hours north of Shelburne Falls. I had heard of the name of Auguste Saint-Gaudens but really didn't know much about him or his work--have you? However, we decided that since it only cost $5 each to get in, it would be fun to explore.

What a treasure. The site was his summer home for a number of years. Set overlooking the Connecticut River with a wonderful of Mt Ascutney. There are a number of different studios, stables and outdoor installations including a marvelous meadow that goes on forever.

First we saw his sculpture of Admiral David Farragut. As luck would have it my DH is related to Farragut's family--don't ask me to explain. I can't. I do know he built a house in Ashfield--although he died before he ever lived there.  A simple sculpture.

Then I started looking more carefully. Isn't this fish along the base just wonderful. So much texture.

OK--I was hooked. I had lived in Boston for a number of years and of course remember the Shaw Memorial of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment--the first African American regiment during Civil War. Have you seen this it?

I started looking at this piece more carefully. Look at the wonderful rolled blankets of the soldiers--such texture--simple but also complex.

And the feet--each one realistic but also artistic. I love all these designs.

And here is the mass of faces and the swords. So alive and full of motion.

It also turns out he sculpted Lincoln Standing. Lincoln Sitting. These are statutes that we all know. Look at the folds in the fabric. I love the expression of his face--complex, thoughtful.

I started noticing his use of texture and fabric. This simple shawl with the fringe.

 The robes in this garment.

And finally this is the last piece he did--it was of his wife. He was trying an impressionistic style. Interesting. So much to see--so much to look at that I would not have thought would interest me until I was there. . We had a wonderful time. Have you ever been? The gardens are also magnificent. And there is a special exhibit that was amazing--but that will be for another day.


  1. Ann, I'm glad you got a chance to visit Cornish and see the wonderful works Saint-Gaudens created. He was a pretty interesting guy; was friends with a many other artists and writers in his time, too.

    Theodore Roosevelt commissioned him to design new gold coins, and his designs are considered to have been some of the most beautiful coins ever produced:

    He also created the astonishing William Tecumseh Sherman monument at the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street in New York, which was restored a few years ago to pristine glory:

    I love Cornish and visit Saint-Gaudens house at least every other year.

  2. We have been wanting to visit Cornish...Scott is a coin collector and my favorite coins in his collection were done by Saint-Gaudens.

  3. Thanks Daniel. It is wonderful. Kate, you and Scott will like it I'm sure.