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Chauncey Bradley Ives
Undine
modeled about 1880, carved 1884
marble
77 5/8 x 19 3/8 x 23 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment



The extraordinary carving of marble—so thin as to emulate wet drapery—is appropriate for a figure of Undine, a mythological sea nymph who became human by marrying a mortal. In the French novel that inspired this sculpture, Undine is eventually betrayed by her husband. Ives presents the dramatic climax of the tale when Undine rises from a well to seek revenge on her unfaithful spouse.