The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a distinguished and comprehensive collection of late nineteenth-century American sculpture, particularly strong in neoclassical and Beaux Arts works and acclaimed for its preeminent group of lifesize statues in marble and bronze. This is the first volume of a two-volume set that will record the museum’s collection.
The museum’s holdings—and the book—accurately document the history of American sculpture and its development as a profession. They range from work by artists who lived in Italy and carved marble and those who studied in Paris and cast in bronze to those who worked only in the United States and were pioneers in the techniques of their art. The artworks represent high points in the careers of such renowned sculptors as Hiram Powers, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Gaston Lachaise, and Paul Manship. Included are premier examples of neoclassical ideal nudes, expressive genre statuettes, naturalistic representations of Native American subjects, studies for and reductions after monumental sculpture, dramatic depictions of animals, and many portraits in the preferred styles and materials of each period. An essay by Thayer Tolles discusses the history of the Metropolitan Museum’s American sculpture collection, and there are detailed entries on all works.