19-20th Century American Sculpture


(above: Gutzon Borglum and Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, 1927 to 1941. Photo courtesy of National Park Service Image Gallery)




This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "19-20th Century American Sculpture." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the date of publication in Resource Library.

Following the above are links to online resources found outside the TFAO website. Online resources are gathered from TFAO catalogues. Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.

We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information.


Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:

Archipenko: A Modern Legacy; essay by Holly Keris (2/1/16)

The American West in Bronze, 1850-1925 (1/3/14)

John Rogers: American Stories 4/26/11)

Anna Hyatt Huntington: A Collector's Eye; article by Robin Salmon (2/17/10)

The Image Business: Shop and Cigar Store Figures in America; article by Ralph Sessions (4/22/09)

The New Symbolism; essay by Ilene Susan Fort (2/26/09)

The Fountainhead: The Genesis of American Garden Sculpture; essay by Lauretta Dimmick

Suffragettes, Free Spirits and Trendsetters: Women Sculptors in America; essay by Robin Salmon (2/25/09)

Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women (10/7/08)

Animal Sculpture in the Folk Tradition (5/20/05)

Nineteenth-Century Sculpture from the National Academy of Design; essay by David Dearinger (8/25/04)

Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture (11/17/03)

Augustus Saint-Gaudens: American Sculptor of the Gilded Age (1848-1907)

Augustus Saint Gaudens: American Sculptor of the Guilded Age (2/24/03)

Masterworks of American Sculpture: Selections from the Members of the National Sculpture Society, 1875-1999 (10/11/99)

American Masters: Sculpture from Brookgreen Gardens (10/11/99)

Out of Rushmore's Shadow: The Artistic Development of Gutzon Borglum (9/18/99)

Hopi Katsina Dolls (7/14/99)

The Ricau Collection of American Sculpture (2/1/98)

Stages of Creation: Public Sculpture by National Academicians (2/19/98)


(above:  Kenyon Cox (October 27, 1856 - March 17, 1919), Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1908, oil on canvas, Height: 85.1 cm (33.5 in); Width: 119.7 cm (47.1 in), Gift of friends of the artist, through August F. Jaccaci, 1908, Metropolitan Museum of Art, online collection (The Met object ID 10557). Image and text source: Wikimedia Commons - public domain)


Other online references:

from the Timeline of Art History section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art website:

American Bronze Casting by Thayer Tolles, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
American Neoclassical Sculptors Abroad by Thayer Tolles, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
American Relief Sculpture by Thayer Tolles, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Bronze Statuettes of the American West, 1850­1915 by Thayer Tolles, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
From Model to Monument: American Public Sculpture, 1865­1915 by Thayer Tolles, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015.

In October 2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art launched MetPublications, an online resource that offers in-depth access to the Museum's print and online publications, covering art, art history, archaeology, conservation, and collecting. Titles relating to American representational art available for free viewing via.pdf download or online reading as of 2013 include:

American Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Gardner, Albert TenEyck (1965)
Nineteenth-Century America: Paintings and Sculpture; Howat, John K., and Natalie Spassky, with an introduction by John K. Howat and John Wilmerding (1970)
Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master Sculptor; Greenthal, Kathryn (1985) Accessed August, 2015.

Daniel Chester French: The Female Form Revealed was a 2016-17 exhibit at the Boston Athenæum, which says: "Characteristically, French's female figures are allegorical. Often idealized, seductively posed, and classically draped, they typically memorialize great human actions, events, or emotions. They fulfill their purpose not through portraiture but by means of a more sensual, tactile, and cerebral narrative." See the checklist and press coverage. Accessed 10/16

Early Sculpture and Sculptors in San Diego by Bruce Kamerling and Sculpture of Donal Hord from San Diego History Center. Accessed August, 2015.

From the Minute Man to the Lincoln Memorial: The Timeless Sculpture of Daniel Chester French was a 2013-14 exhibit held at the Concord Museum, which says: This exhibition included some rarely displayed objects from French's Chesterwood studio highlighting the role that Concord played in French's life and career." Includes 20-page gallery guide and link to article. Accessed 10/16

George Segal: Street Scenes, an exhibit held August 13, 2008 to December 28, 2008 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "George Segal (1924-2000) is considered one of the most important and influential American artists of the twentieth century. Although he initially focused his efforts on painting, his career took a turn in the early 1960s when he began using plaster to create life-size figures that he presented together with elements from everyday environments, such as chairs, benches, window frames, and other building fragments. With subjects and settings that addressed commonplace situations, human values, and the burdens of economic hardship, these signature works caught the attention of the public and were broadly acclaimed by art critics, curators, art historians, and other artists. " Accessed February, 2015

John Rogers: American Stories, an exhibit held November 09, 2012 - February 18, 2013 at the New-York Historical Society. Includes video by curator. Accessed April, 2015.

Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination, an exhibit held April 28, 2007 to August 19, 2007 at the Peabody Essex Museum. Includes press releases and interactive website. Accessed April, 2015.

Scenes from America's Past - The Sculpture of John Rogers, an exhibit held November 28, 2000 through May 13, 2001 at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Includes Gallery Guide (PDF), Object Guide (PDF). Accessed August, 2015.

Sculptors, by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

A Timeless Perfection: American Figurative Sculpture in the Classical Spirit - Gifts of Dr. Michael L. Nieland  is a 2017 exhibit at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art which says: "This exhibition celebrates the exceptional gift from Dr. Michael Nieland to the Museum in 2015 and promised gifts for 2018 of fifty-seven late nineteenth and early twentieth century figurative sculptures." Also see press release  Accessed 12/17

Mark Sublette owner of Medicine Man Gallery posted in 2010 through the gallery's YouTube channel a 5-mimute video "How To Identify Early Hopi and Zuni Kachina Dolls." YouTube contains other videos on Hopi Kachinas from anonymous sources showing the sculptures at Heard Museum 2012 and 2013 events. Accessed January, 2016.

The WGBH/Boston Forum Network is an audio and video streaming web site dedicated to curating and serving live and on-demand lectures, including a number of videos on Art and Architecture. Partners include a number of museums, colleges, universities and other cultural organizations. See listings of related videos in this catalogue indexed by partner name. Boston Athenaeum partnered with the WGBH Forum Network for a series of lectures on American art by David Dearinger, who is Susan Morse Hilles Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Boston Athenaeum. An art historian and curator, he received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, with a specialty in nineteenth-century American art. Titles include: Sculptors and Their Patrons at Mount Auburn, 1820-1870 (47 minutes). David Dearinger discusses the American NeoClassic sculptors and their patrons that are buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery. [March 1, 2007]; Marmorean Affair: Neoclassic Sculptors and Boston (1 hour, 6 minutes) reveals the Bostonian obsession with neoclassical sculpture from the 1820s through the 1860s. [May 6, 2004] Accessed May, 2015.


(above:  Mary Edmonia Lewis, Hiawatha, 1868, Marble, 13 3/4 ? 7 3/4 ? 5 1/2 in. (34.9 ? 19.7 ? 14 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morris K. Jesup and Friends of the American Wing Funds, 2015.  Image and text source: Wikimedia Commons - public domain)


TFAO also suggests these DVD or VHS videos:

Augustus Saint Gaudens: An American Original is a 28 minute 1995 video from Direct Cinema Limited directed by Paul G. Sanderson III. This video draws on photographs, letters, literary documents and the artist's works -- which are found in major cities, public parks and museums throughout the United States -- to create a beautiful and informative portrait of a neglected giant of American art. Centering on the artist's adopted home of Cornish, New Hampshire, the film is an excellent introduction to the man and his times, and to the work that helped a weary nation begin to make sense of the war that almost tore it apart.

Earl Erik Heikka, Sculptor of the American West is a documentary presented in two parts on the sculptor's life and art produced by the Heikka Art Foundry in 1978. Filmed and directed by Dan Agulian, written and narrated by Mike C. Heikka, shot on locations in California, Colorado, Montana and New York

Elizabeth Catlett: Sculpting the Truth. A 28 minute L&S 1998 documentary profile of the prominent sculptor Elizabeth Catlett, whose work in wood, stone and terra cotta Is inspired by women of the world. Her exceptional sculptures of mothers, workers and children have placed Catlett as an Important figure In the pantheon of African-American artists. "Attributing her art directly to difficulties in life she faced as a black woman, Elizabeth Catlett sculpted "the truth" with flawless technique from wood, stone, and terra cotta. This video provides a personal look at the life and sculpture of Catlett. It shows her working in her studio while explaining and describing her art and life. Faith Ringgold adds commentary." ISBN 1-882660-14-5 Elizabeth Catlett: Sculpting the Truth is a video available through the Sullivan Video Library at The Speed Art Museum which holds a sizable collection of art-related videos available to educators at no charge.

Maria: Indian Pottery Maker of San Ildefonso is a 27 minute video produced by National Park Service Films and distributed by Interpark, Cortez, CO. Maria Martinez, noted Indian pottery maker demonstrates the traditional Indian ways, beginning with the spreading of corn pollen before clay is gathered. Also shown are the mixing of the clay, construction of pottery, hand decorating and building of the firing mound. Born in 1918 in the Pueblo of Santa Clara and educated at a mission, her artistic talents were encouraged by her teachers. Through her work at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, Pablita records the traditions and legends of her ancient people so that future tribal generations may know and understand their heritage. Here we see Pablita mixing her own paints from natural earth- found materials, sketching in the wilderness, teaching young Indian children. She captures on canvas, the essence and ceremonies customs, and present day Pueblo life. Running time is 20 minutes. A great bonus! Total DVD running time 47 min. (text courtesy of petroglyphtrail.com)

Public Sculpture: America's Legacy. Sculptures are presented and then the audience is taken on a 29 minute tour to see and understand how each work functions in a public place. In this way both the nature of the work and its role In history is cerefully elucidated.

Squatting The Palace: An Installation by Kiki Smith in Venice is a 44 minute video produced by Edgar B. Howard. "This video takes a circular approach to an artist who works in overlapping spirals of creative energy. Smith works in her home ­ not in a space specifically designed as a studio but on the 2nd floor of her East Village townhouse. There, amid her books, a pet bird, and tiny kitchenette, Smith goes from drawing to collaging to modeling clay to painting plaster casts and back, again and again, moving from one discipline to another in a way that can seem aimless to a casual observer, but which is actually modus operandi of a highly sophisticated visual artist." (video available through Checkerboard Film Foundation, quote from Checkerboard Film Foundation)

Saint Gaudens: Masque of the Golden Bowl. A lush 60 minute dramatization of the life and work of Augustus Saint Gaudens, pre-eminent sculptor of the American Renaissance, as seen and recorded In his own words and those of his contemporaries. Shot on Location in Boston, New York and New Hampshire. Produced in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Shaw Memorial: The Power and Glory of Public Art, The "Augustus Saint-Gaudens' original plaster cast of the Shaw Memorial, installed in the National Gallery, is the focus for discussions among historians, curators, educators, and descendants of members of the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth Regiment of African Americans who fought in the Civil War. The program tells us about the history, literary connections, and artistic significance of the sculpture as an artwork and a national monument. Archival photographs, documents, and location footage of related sites provide additional content." .This 52 minute video is lent free of charge through the National Gallery of Art's Division of Education (go to NGA Loan Materials) Quote from the National Gallery of Art.

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format


(above:  Daniel Chester French, Civil War Monument to Melvin Brothers, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, MA, 1908,  Image and text source: Wikimedia Commons - public domain)


TFAO welcomes your suggestions for additions to this catalogue. Please send them to:

TFAO welcomes volunteers to further the broadening of knowledge related to this topic. To learn more about TFAO's many volunteer opportunities please click here. Volunteers are welcome to contribute suggestions for additional content in this catalogue. Please see Catalogue and database management for details.


Also see sculpture: 18-19th Century, 20-21st Century

Return to Topics in American Representational Art


TFAO catalogues:

Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.


Search Resource Library

Copyright 2021 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.