June 25, 2013

6/23/13 - Saint-Gaudens NHS

When we were almost to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, our stupid GPS told us to turn left.  After we wound around on several narrow dirt roads, it then told us we were at our destination (we weren’t), then ignored us when we actually arrived at the entrance.   I want a new GPS. 

The home, gardens and studios of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who was one of America’s greatest sculptors, is the only national park in New Hampshire.  The movie at the Visitors Center was on Saint-Gaudens life and works.  They called it an “orientation movie”—which tells me that I’m not the only one who didn’t recognize the name immediately.
(Aside for cool story)  Augustus grew up in New York, and in his early 20s, went to study in France.  There he met an American girl named Augusta and fell in love.  When he asked her father for permission to marry her, her father said he had to get an art commission first.  (As in "Get a job!")

The Farragut Monument to honor Civil War Admiral David Farragut was that commission.  The detail and the movement in the sculpture ensured his future success, and more commissions.
Near the Farragut Monument is the Atrium. I like the turtles at the ends of the pool.  You can't see them very well here, but if you've seen one gold turtle, you've got a good idea what these look like.
Next to the Atrium is the New Gallery, which contains some of his work.  This is the model for the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial in Edinburgh.
Moving along is the final version of Shaw Memorial , a monument to the Civil War service of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment of African-American Volunteers in Boston.  It took 14 years to complete.  I don't know if he was just waiting for inspiration it was that difficult. 
The Adams Memorial is a recast of a bronze sculpture to Henry Adams wife, after she committed suicide.  Mr. Adams asked that the memorial not look like his wife.  It's a bit sad, actually.
 After a little detour at the garden, we headed on to the Little Studio, which has more artwork. 

We missed the tour, so we didn’t get to go in the house, which Saint-Gaudens called Aspet.   (I wonder why people name houses; I've never named any of mine.)  We did get to wander around outside and on the porch. 
  More pictures at this link:  Saint-Gaudens NHS

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