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Augusta Savage

Gamin
about 1929
painted plaster
9 x 5 3/4 x 4 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Benjamin and Olya Margolin

Augusta Savage convincingly captures the rebellious nature of this young man, reputedly her teenage nephew, Ellis Ford, who lived in Harlem. His sullen expression underscores his defiant posture. Scratched in the base is the French word, “Gamin.” The term refers to street-wise children who often appeared in nineteenth-century literature and painting.