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Article

Donna J. Hassler

(b New Haven, CT, Feb 21, 1791; d New Haven, CT, Jan 10, 1858).

American sculptor. Although as a youth he showed talent for handling tools, his father, a joiner and carpenter, discouraged him from becoming a wood-carver. After opening a fruit shop in New Haven, he began carving musical instruments and furniture legs for a local cabinetmaker. With his invention of a lace-making machine, he was able to settle his business debts and devote himself entirely to sculpture.

About 1825 Samuel F. B. Morse encouraged Augur to try working in marble. Among his earliest attempts in this medium was a bust of Professor Alexander Metcalf Fisher (c. 1825–7; New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G.), which was exhibited in 1827 at the National Academy of Design in New York. The impact of the Neo-classical style is clearly evident in his most ambitious work, Jephthah and his Daughter (c. 1828–30; New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G.), a pair of free-standing half life-size marble figures. The treatment of the heads shows Roman influence, which Augur must have absorbed from engravings; this is borne out by the detailed work on Jephthah’s armour. The bold handling of the hair and drapery reveals his experience as a wood-carver. In ...

Article

Julius Bryant

(b Rome, July 4, 1751; d Paris, Jan 30, 1801).

Italian sculptor, active also in England and the USA. Ceracchi is best known for his portrait busts of the heroes of the American Revolution, executed during his two visits to the USA (1791–2 and 1794–5), where he made a significant contribution to the introduction of Neo-classicism. The son of a goldsmith, he studied in Rome with Tommaso Righi (1727–1802) and at the Accademia di S Luca. Following his arrival in London in 1773, Ceracchi worked for Agostino Carlini and modelled architectural ornament for Adam family, §3 (ii). He also taught Anne Seymour Damer to model in clay, and c. 1777 he produced a life-size terracotta statue of her as the Muse of Sculpture (marble version, London, BM) holding one of her own works, a Genius of the Thames. His bust of Admiral Keppel (marble version, 1779; Mausoleum, Wentworth Woodhouse, S. Yorks) was considered ‘extremely like’ by Horace Walpole when the terracotta model (...

Article

Lauretta Dimmick

(b New York, ?1813; d London, Oct 10, 1857).

American sculptor. One of the major American Neo-classical sculptors, Crawford learnt wood-carving in his youth. In 1832 he became a carver for New York’s leading marble shop, operated by John Frazee and Robert E. Launitz (1806–70). He cut mantelpieces and busts, and spent his evenings drawing from the cast collection at the National Academy of Design. In 1835 Crawford became the first American sculptor to settle permanently in Rome. Launitz provided Crawford with a letter of introduction to Bertel Thorvaldsen, who welcomed Crawford into his studio, gave him a corner in which to work and provided occasional criticism, including the advice to copy antique models and not Thorvaldsen’s own work. It is not known precisely how long Crawford remained under Thorvaldsen’s tutelage, but it was probably less than a year. Crawford always esteemed Thorvaldsen’s sculpture and continued friendship.

Once in his own studio, Crawford at first eked out a living by producing portraits, such as his bust of ...

Article

Jennifer Wingate

(b Vermont, 1827; d Merano, Italy, Dec 7, 1877).

American sculptor, active also in Italy. Foley was one of the women expatriate sculptors in Rome in the third quarter of the 19th century whom Henry James called “a white marmorean flock.” The historical and mythological female subjects executed by her peers, Harriet Hosmer and Edmonia Lewis, have attracted more scholarly attention, but Foley’s medallion portraits are highly regarded for their combination of subtle vision and striking detail. Her idealized reliefs helped finance the single monumental work of her career, a whimsical fountain located in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park.

Foley’s specialty was the product not only of her skill at sculpting likenesses, but also of her formative experiences as a self-trained carver. In the 1840s, she left her post as a school teacher in northern Vermont for Lowell, MA, where she worked in the spinning mills, whittling wooden bobbins in her spare time. Lowell attracted young rural women like Foley with the promise of independence and education. While most mill operatives worked long enough to earn a dowry and marry, Foley used her savings to relocate to Boston. By ...

Article

Janet A. Headley

(b Rahway, NJ, July 18, 1790; d Compton Mills, RI, Feb 24, 1852).

American sculptor. The youngest of ten, Frazee worked as a farmhand, and was then apprenticed to a local builder. He launched his career by carving architectural ornament and gravemarkers; by 1818, local success encouraged him to establish a monument-making company with his brother William in New York. His visual repertory and his clientele expanded: a cenotaph to Sarah Haynes (c. 1821; New York, Trinity Church) fuses Ionic pilasters, an illusionistic swag of drapery, and clusters of oak leaves; his monument to patriot Elbridge Gerry (1823; Washington, DC, Congressional Cemetery) unites a truncated obelisk with a flaming urn. Such ambitious combinations of decorative elements probably derive from pattern books.

His business gained him some financial success, but Frazee aspired to the status of artist. The Marquis de Lafayette agreed to a sitting (1824, plaster, lost), and New York patroon Giulian Verplanck lobbied for a posthumous portrait of Chief Justice John Jay (...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(b Madison, WI, Sept 25, 1847; d Washington, DC, Nov 20, 1914).

American sculptor. Born Vinnie Ream, Hoxie was a pioneer in a field long dominated by male artists and the first woman sculptor to gain a federal commission. Her strikingly good looks and controversial lifestyle sometimes led male contemporaries to dismiss her as the “pretty chiseler of marble,” but her considerable talent and skill eventually earned her praise and commissions.

Hoxie attended the Academy (part of Christian College), in Columbia, MO, where she began her artistic studies. By 1861 she was living with her family in Washington, DC, and one year later she was working for the postal service. At the age of 16 she became a student–assistant for sculptor Clark Mills (1810–83), and shortly thereafter made relief medallions and portrait busts of congressmen and other public figures. She was still in her teens when she modeled a bust of Abraham Lincoln (1865; Ithaca, NY, Cornell U. Lib.) from life—an early success that brought her national attention....

Article

Janet A. Headley

(b Hamden, CT, Dec 14, 1810; d Rome, Aug 2, 1894).

American sculptor, active in Italy. Ives trained as a wood-carver in New Haven, CT, and he may also have studied with the sculptor Hezekiah Augur. In 1838 Ives launched his career as a portraitist. Among the works that contributed to his rising reputation during the next two years were portraits of the professor Benjamin Silliman (plaster, c. 1840; New York, NY Hist. Soc.) and the architect Ithiel Town (marble, c. 1840; New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G.)

Due to illness, Ives sought the milder climate of Italy; he lived in Florence from 1844 to 1851, when he settled permanently in Rome. In the third quarter of the 19th century, he rivalled Hiram Powers as the foremost American sculptor in Italy. He continued to produce portraits, notably statues of Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull (1869) and statesman Roger Sherman (1870) for Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol, but he developed a reputation as a sculptor of idealized marble figures. He excelled at representations of childhood; for example his ...

Article

Elise Madeleine Ciregna

Elise Madeleine Ciregna

Term coined in the 19th century to describe the overwhelmingly dominant style in the fine and decorative arts in Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Neo-classicism is not one distinct style, but rather the term can describe any work of architecture or art that either copies or imitates ancient art, or that represents an approach to art that draws inspiration from Classical models from ancient Greece and Rome. The most influential theorist of Neo-classicism was the German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann, whose major work, Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks, was translated into English in 1765. The Neo-classical style in North America was most popular from about 1780 to 1850.

Interest in Classical art and architecture has remained more or less constant throughout Western history, peaking most notably during the Renaissance and again in the 18th century. The systematic excavations and ensuing scholarship on the archaeological sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii, buried by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in ...

Article

Lauretta Dimmick

revised by Rebecca Reynolds

(b Woodstock, VT, July 29, 1805; d Florence, June 27, 1873).

American sculptor. He grew up in Cincinnati, OH, and his career as a sculptor began when he created animated wax figures for a tableau of Dante’s Inferno at the Western Museum in Cincinnati, where he was employed as an ‘inventor, wax-figure maker, and general mechanical contriver’. He had learnt to model clay and make plaster casts from Frederick Eckstein (c. 1775–1852). The portrait busts he created of his friends attracted the attention of the wealthy art patron Nicholas Longworth, who financed a trip for Powers to Washington, DC, in 1834, when he sculpted President Andrew Jackson (marble, modelled 1834–5, carved 1839; New York, Met.). Powers’s strikingly lifelike bust, classicized only by the drapery, had great appeal and resulted in other Washington luminaries agreeing to sit for him, including John Marshall (marble, modelled 1835, carved 1838–9; Washington, DC, US Capitol), Martin van Buren (marble, modelled 1836, carved 1862; New York, NY Hist. Soc.), and ...

Article

Pamela H. Simpson

Term referring to the romantic character underlying the use of Roman and Greek forms in the art and architecture of the late 18th century and early 19th. First used by Sigfried Giedion in 1922 and later, in an important essay by Fiske Kimball in 1944, the term is most often applied to architecture. Henry-Russell Hitchcock used it extensively as a stylistic term that defined early Neo-classicism in his volume on 19th- and 20th-century architecture. But it also can be applied to painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. The term recognizes the fundamental idea that the past evokes emotional associations. Even the seemingly rational and austere forms of Roman and Greek art could evoke sentiment.

One concept that helps explain Romantic Classicism is ‘associationism’, a principle that underlay much of the use of historical revival styles in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. When contemplating a building whose forms evoked a bygone era, the viewer made certain connections between the use of the style in the past and its appearance in the present. Thus when Thomas Jefferson chose the Roman temple, the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, as a model for the Virginia State House (...