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Erastus Dow Palmer
June
1865
marble
24 1/8 x 17 x 10 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Page Cross through the Director's Discretionary Fund



While the pristine marble evokes the unblemished purity of eternal youth, slight irregularities in the modeling suggest that June is based on an individual rather than a classical type. The young woman's lovely ringlets and expectant gaze also convey warmth and individuality. First a carpenter, cabinet maker, and cameo cutter, Palmer later distinguished himself as a sculptor who believed that “the purest and best of our nature is evinced in portraiture, not by copying the forms, but by reaching after something higher—a spiritual modification of them.”