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Judge Edwards Pierrepont by Augustus Saint-Gaudens / American Art
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Judge Edwards Pierrepont

1874 Augustus Saint-Gaudens Born: Dublin, Ireland 1848 Died: Cornish, New Hampshire 1907 marble 29 1/2 x 21 3/4 x 13 5/8 in. (75.0 x 55.2 x 34.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mary Pierrepont Beckwith 1968.65.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 17A



Luce Center Quote

“He [Saint-Gaudens] said he’d give anything to get hold of that bust and smash it to atoms.” David Armstrong, 1920

Luce Center Label

Augustus Saint-Gaudens grew annoyed with his demanding sitter Edwards Pierrepont, who was a prominent lawyer and jurist. The sculptor reluctantly obeyed repeated requests that his portrait be improved to look more like the busts of Socrates, Seneca, and Plato that Pierrepont admired. He told the young sculptor that these men had “very broad foreheads.” The artist complied, but Pierrepont demanded further adjustments until the head, in the sculptor’s words, “seemed to be affected with some dreadful swelling disease.” The contemporary obsession with phrenology---the “science” of reading character based on the shape of the skull---likely drove Pierrepont to make such demands.

Keywords

Dress - historic - classical dress

Occupation - law - judge

Portrait male - Pierrepont, Edwards - bust

sculpture

stone - marble

carved

About Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Born: Dublin, Ireland 1848 Died: Cornish, New Hampshire 1907

More works in the collection by
Augustus Saint-Gaudens