At New Hampshire’s Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, visitors see the famed sculptor’s works where they were conceived.
Saint-Gaudens came of age at a time when Americans were eagerly building monuments to the heroes of the Civil War. The nation was awash in sculptures of men on horses, but Saint-Gauden’s pieces rose to the top. He portrayed his subjects as soldiers, not gods, bringing a level of realism to his work rarely before seen in American sculpture. Buttons were left undone, hair unkempt, beards unshaven. His Abraham Lincoln: The Man in Chicago portrays the president standing, with eyes downcast. He looks pensive, even troubled. It’s arguably the most honest portrayal of Lincoln we have.
Though many of Saint-Gaudens’ works are installed in busy municipal parks around the country, their prototypes were crafted at his idyllic New Hampshire estate, where the National Historic Site now resides. “Cornish was his safe haven in America,” explains Henry Duffy, the property’s curator. “He worked well in the quiet of the place, the peace of it.”
–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2011
Mount Ascutney forms a lovely backdrop to the sweeping lawns of Aspet, summer home of the late sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It’s a splendid site for summer Sunday-afternoon
picnics, followed by music in the Little Studio. July and August concerts are free with admission.