October 10 Saint-Gaudens/Cornish

Hello again. I’m still on my adventure, and today promises to be an amazing experience.

After finishing up with Road Scholar, I flew to Cleveland to join up with my friends Annelise and Bob, and their two wonderful kitties, Ivan and Felix, P1020053and Lucy the Dog.P1020072. On Friday, we set out on our road trip. I remember all the complaining we did in Maine and Canada about the lack of “Fall Color.” Let me tell you, it’s out in spades now. Even on a cloudy, drizzly day, I truly thought some of the trees had caught on fire, the leaves were such brilliant shades of red and scarlet. P1020051 Friday night, we had made it to Plattsburgh, New York, to stay with (and be cossetted by) Jack and Peg, Annelise’s uncle and aunt. I had met them briefly before, and it was great to chat with them again. Jack is a retired history professor, and we discussed the Battle of Castine, as we learned about on the trip.

On Saturday, we were on the road early, with a care package from Aunt Peg, who drove us to the ferry so we wouldn’t get lost. We were on our way to Cornish, New Hampshire, to the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.

http://www.nps.gov/saga/index.htm

We got there late morning, and got tickets for a tour of the house. Then we started looking at the sculptures. My photos don’t begin to do the sculptures justice. Here’s a head portion from one of the famous Lincoln statues–not sure if it was the Standing or Seated Lincoln. But whichever, wow!P1020030 Here’s the first big commission, the one that brought him fame and prestige, and enough money to marry his sweetheart. It’s the Civil War admiral David Farragut. P1020029If you look closely, you can see that one of the buttons on his coat didn’t get buttoned. I love the way his legs are braced against the movement of the ship. The statue is on a bluestone stand that was designed by the famous architect Stanford White. In the 30s, the original stand was deemed not to be in good shape, so it was removed and replaced by a granite stand. The original stand was then sent to Cornish for this copy of the statue. So the original stand is with the copy statue, and the copy stand with the original statue. Here’s another photo of the statue and stand, in its shelter:P1020028

Here’s some other masterpieces he did: P1020045 P1020043 P1020042 P1020040 P1020039 P1020035 P1020034

Here’s one that blew me away. It’s of General Sherman. The entire monument is Sherman on a horse, but this is just a study of the head. Sherman was NOT a cooperative subject, and it took 17 sittings before S-G was satisfied. Look how untidy his neckcloth was:P1020037 The head was life-size, and seemed so alive that I was intimidated being near him, and I expected him to start yelling at me.

Here’s a lovely painting of Homer, S-G’s son, by John Singer Sargent. That’s his mother, reading to him, to try and keep him in his pose. But he wasn’t cooperating. He had a pet goat named Seasick who taught him how fun it was to headbutt people, so Homer took that up. Sargent apparently sat on him at one point to stress who was in charge of the situation. But the painting is absolutely luminous. It’s in the S-G home. P1020049

S-G signed most of his works with his initials ASG intertwined. I couldn’t get a good photo of it, but tried:P1020044

So remember all the raving I did about the Shaw Memorial in Boston? Even after it was exhibited to absolutely universal acclaim, S-G did another copy with things he wanted to change, something about the flags in the back, and Shaw’s sword, and the angel on top. Annelise said she can see the difference in the sword. Here’s a couple photos:P1020038 P1020046 Go back to the other post, and see if you can see the difference. They had a photograph, taken when the monument was unveiled, of soldiers from the same regiment that marched under Shaw and who had survived the war, and now were elderly black men. At the dedication, they were marching past the monument, the same route they took when heading out of Boston in 1863. It was incredibly powerful.

Here’s his famous Amour Caritas–apparently he had this cast many times, and sold the copies, and it provided him with a lot of money. It’s worth it.P1020032

Here’s a couple photos taken outside the house–it was lovely in its autumn splendor:P1020047 P1020048And here’s a photo of the dining room:P1020050

I’ve been inside several houses on this trip that were furnished as museum pieces of the 19th Century. Gotta say the artwork in this one was the best ever. It looked wonderfully livable.

Here’s another photo. It’s a cat, as sculpted by S-G’s nephew, the son of his brother, Louis. There’s a very funny story that he had a terrible time getting the cat to pose, as it kept leaving to curl up in a warmer part of the house. He closed off the escape route, and found the cat would pose happily in a chair recently warmed by a human bottom.P1020027

We went back to Plattsburgh for more spoiling, then headed home the next day. We had to stop for one more photo of the gorgeous fall landscape:P1020052

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One Response

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful trip. Some of the sculptures blew me away esp Lincoln

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