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Paul Wayland Bartlett
Woman Knitting
modeled 1885, cast 1895
bronze
17 3/4 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Armistead Peter, III



Bartlett's interpretation of a woman at her knitting—in keeping with the period's fascination with the domestic lives of women—is all the more persuasive for his masterful handling of volume and flickering highlights across dark warm-colored bronze. Bartlett worked in France nearly his entire career. His inscriptions in French at the upper left indicate that he first made the sculpture in clay or plaster in 1885 and had it cast (“fondue”) in bronze using the “cire perdue” or “lost wax” method developed by Renaissance sculptors, whose artistry Bartlett hoped to rival.