Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture on WXXI-TV

Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture on WXXI-TV

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 10:00pm
The Logan Monument in Chicago. John A. Logan (1826-1886) was a Union general and a United States senator from Illinois.

Credit: Paul Sanderson, Our Town Films, Inc.

The life story of America’s premier sculptor of the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture, airing Monday, August 16 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11), is a new feature documentary that serves as an intimate personal and professional portrait of the great American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907). Actor Victor Garber narrates.

Although millions today see Saint-Gaudens’ work in museums and public places, few know the man behind the art. Trained in Paris and Rome, Saint-Gaudens is considered America’s premier sculptor of the 19th and early 20th centuries. During a career that spanned three decades, Saint-Gaudens created nearly 150 works of art, from major public monuments to sensitive portrait reliefs to the gold coins that changed the look of American coinage. This film re-introduces Saint-Gaudens to the American public and helps make the audience aware of his significant contributions to American art and culture. The sculptor’s artwork, filmed in high definition, is now available in ways never seen before.

Tracing Saint-Gaudens’ life from his birth in Dublin, Ireland, to his work in New York City and training in Europe, to his death in Cornish, New Hampshire, Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture discusses how his projects ranged in scope from heroic-size monuments to small portraits in relief, including cameos and coins. The story of his life is woven around in-depth studies of several of his major works of art, including the contemplative Standing Lincoln in Chicago; the intensely moving Shaw Memorial on Boston Common; the powerful Sherman Monument in Manhattan; the serenely beautiful Diana, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and the stirring Adams Memorial in Washington, DC.Through interviews with renowned art historians and politicians, including Yale professor Vincent Scully, Princeton University’s John Wilmerding and former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, the documentary secures Saint-Gaudens’ reputation as a leader among artists and the first to integrate architecture, landscape design and monumental sculpture. Often compared to the great artists of the Italian Renaissance, Saint-Gaudens invigorated sculpture in the United States and raised it to new heights during his lifetime by using a style inspired by classical tradition but still uniquely American.