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Details & Cataloguing

19th and 20th Century Sculpture

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Janet Scudder
1873 - 1940
AMERICAN
SEATED FAUN
signed: Janet Scudder and inscribed: Alexis RUDiER. / Fondeur. PARiS.
bronze, green-brown patina
98cm., 38 5/8 in.
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Catalogue Note

Janet Scudder was born in Terre Haute, Indiana into an impoverished family plagued by misfortune. With help of friends and relatives she enrolled in local art classes and later the Cincinnati Academy of Art and moved through a succession of wood carving and studio assistant jobs in Cincinnati and later Chicago, encumbered by the fact that often female practitioners were forbidden to work. Her career and style took shape due to stints in the studios of Loredo Taft and Frederick Macmonnies between 1893 and 1896 and a number of years spent travelling as an artistic companion to a succession of American heiresses. As much as this helped her, she felt suppressed by the solemn statuary produced by her male colleagues and the monotony of living a luxury lifestyle and soon decreed "never to do stupid self-rightious sculpture - even if I had to die in the poorhouse" (Scudder, op. cit., p. 165). From 1900 onwards she focused on joyous representations of children and youthful literary characters, often in the form of fountains, and swiftly found recognition and a steady stream of commissions. Around 1908-1913 she produced some of her best known work, such as The Tortoise Fountain, The Young Diana, and The Little Lady of the Sea, often during trips to Europe. Scudder equally sharpened her pen and tongue during this time, lashing out to dilettante woman artists, gender inequality, and dull art.

A cast of The Seated Faun is in the Brooklyn Museum (inv. no. 26.184), dated 1924.

RELATED LITERATURE
“The Renaissance villa of Italy developed into a complete residential type for use in America. The house of Harold McCormick, Esq. at Lake Forest, Ill. Charles A. Platt, Architect.", Architectural Record 31, March 1912, pp. 201-225; J. Scudder, Modeling my life, New York, 1925; Fauns and fountains. American garden statuary, 1890-1930, exh. cat. The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, 1985; K. Solender (ed.), The American way in sculpture 1890-1930, exh. cat. Cleveland Museum of Art, 1986, p. 24, no. 16; J. Conner and J. Rosenkranz, Rediscoveries in American sculpture: Studio works, 1893-1939, Austin, 1989, pp. 151-160

19th and 20th Century Sculpture

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London