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About This Artwork
Jules Bastien-Lepage, modeled in 1880, cast in copper and bronze 1881
Copper with bronze patina
37.2 × 27 cm (14 5/8 × 10 5/8 in.)
Inscribed across top: "[I] VLES BASTIEN LEPAGE AETATIS XXXI PARIS MDCCCLXXX AVGVSTVS / SAINT-GAVDENS FECIT"
Gift of Sara Hallowell, 1908.83
While living in Paris, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens executed a series of bronze bas-relief portraits of his artist friends, including John Singer Sargent, and this portrayal of the French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. In contrast to his previous, bust-length plaques, this portrait is a more complex, half-length composition. At Bastien-Lepage’s request, the sculptor incorporated a palette and brushes to conceal the Frenchman’s hands; this amused Saint-Gaudens, who thought it a “rare combination of talent and vanity in his sitter.” The plaque’s frame was designed by Saint-Gaudens’s friend American architect Stanford White.
Judith A. Barter et al, American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 267-270, no. 130.