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Gamin

ca. 1929 Augusta Savage Born: Green Cove Spring, Florida 1892 Died: New York, New York 1962 painted plaster 9 x 5 3/4 x 4 3/8 in. (22.9 x 14.7 x 11.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Benjamin and Olya Margolin 1988.57 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 46B


Luce Center Label

Augusta Savage created Gamin early in her career, and the small sculpture won her a scholarship to travel to Europe. Some sources suggest that the sculpture was inspired by a homeless boy on the street; others indicate it may have been based on the artist’s nephew, Ellis Ford. The French word gamin means “street urchin,” and the figure’s wrinkled shirt and cap emphasize his impoverished appearance. The child’s expression appears much wiser than his years, suggesting he has seen much hardship. The title may reflect how Savage herself felt as a young artist in Europe, struggling to make ends meet even after achieving success in the Paris Salons.

Research Notes

Read research notes for Gamin. (pdf)

Keywords

Ethnic - African-American

Figure male - child - bust

sculpture

paint

plaster

About Augusta Savage

Born: Green Cove Spring, Florida 1892 Died: New York, New York 1962