Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, 1848-1907) Head of Victory, Nikh-Eiphnh
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Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, 1848-1907)
Head of Victory, Nikh-Eiphnh, Second Version
Signed and dated "A. SAINT GAVDENS M.C.M." and inscribed "COPYRIGHT
MCMVII BY AUGUSTUS SAINT GAUDENS" along the lower edge, titled l.c.
Bronze sculpture with brown/green patina, height 8 1/4 in. (20.9 cm), presented on a green marble base.
N.B. The work presented here was begun as a study for the Sherman Monument, dedicated to the Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891). The monument depicts the General on horseback, being led by a striding allegorical figure of victory, and stands outside New York's Central Park in the Grand Army Plaza. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, who has a cast of this head says, "Getting the Victory head right was no easy task. First the initial study failed to content him, for therein he had copied certain beautiful features until he felt that he had filed it with overmuch 'personality.' Then the second attempt, although of intrinsically greater worth [and said to have been preferred by the sculptor], appeared even more out of keeping with the monument. So finally he was forced to return to his earlier model…"1 The fact that the various casts of this head bare different dates, is indicative that the artist continued reworking the head even after he had rejected it for the monument.2
According to a Metropolitan Museum of Art website article, "…the Head of Victory served as a study for the one-cent piece, the ten-dollar gold piece, and the twenty-dollar gold piece," and Saint-Gaudens even executed a large relief medallion based on this composition.
1Kathryn Greenthal, et al., American Figurative Sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1986), p. 248.2Ibid.