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Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Violet Sargent
1890
bronze
50 x 34 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Rose Pitman Hughes



Augustus Saint-Gaudens drew from many historical and contemporary sources to create this portrait of painter John Singer Sargent's sister. She is seated on a bench derived from classical Greek architecture and is playing a guitar, an instrument then associated with the exotic flamenco music and dance of Spain. The low relief bronze recalls Renaissance sculpture, and the frame is decorated with chrysanthemums, the symbol of royal Japan.