Painting and Sculpture
Although similar in style, the two allegorical statues that flank the main entrance to the Saint Louis Art Museum are by two different artists. Painting (this page), on the east side, is the work of Louis Saint-Gaudens; Sculpture, on the west side, is by Daniel Chester French. Both figures were created for the 1904 World’s Fair to stand in front of the Palace of Fine Arts, now the Art Museum.
The Palace of Fine Arts, designed by Cass Gilbert, was one of the few permanent structures built for the Fair. Most of the buildings and statues at the Fair were constructed from “staff,” a mixture of plaster of Paris, cement and hemp fibers — durable enough to last the length of the Fair, but not intended for permanent display. The originals of these two sculptures were made of staff, and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company commissioned the artists to create marble copies after the Fair.
Louis Saint-Gaudens was the lesser known brother of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, but a fine artist in his own right. He is best known as the sculptor of all the statues in Union Station in Washington D.C. He died in 1912, and his wife, Annette Johnson Saint-Gaudens, completed the marble copy.
Daniel Chester French was one of the most acclaimed and prolific sculptors of his time and in the circle of such literary luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Alcotts of Concord, Massachusetts. His most famous work is the iconic figure of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. He also designed the medal awarded to recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.