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Apollo with Cupids

1880-1882 John La Farge (Designer) Augustus Saint-Gaudens (Modeler) banded African mahogany, repoussé bronze, colored marbles, mother-of-pearl, abalone shell, and ivory relief 27 3/4 x 63 1/2 in. (70.5 x 161.3 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of James Maroney and museum purchase 1990.106 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing


Gallery Label

Cornelius Vanderbilt II hired John La Farge and Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create the interiors for his Manhattan mansion. The enormous fortunes of the nation's leading industrialists had brought about an American Renaissance of public and private architecture, and Vanderbilt's empire of railroads and steamships bought him a home of staggering opulence. Allegorical panels of jewels, glass, and mother-of-pearl spanned the forty-foot ceiling of the dining room. This relief of Apollo appeared in the ensemble, and was based on Byzantine and Pompeian art reproduced in books owned by La Farge. Gilt bronze relief portraits of the Vanderbilts on the surrounding walls further associated the Gilded Age family with the splendors of antiquity.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Fantasy - winged being

Mythology - classical - Apollo

decorative arts - furniture

animal parts - shell

metal - bronze

stone - marble

wood - mahogany

About John La Farge

Born: New York, New York 1835 Died: Providence, Rhode Island 1910

About Augustus Saint-Gaudens

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

More works in the collection by
John La Farge

More works in the collection by
Augustus Saint-Gaudens