America Without Reserve: The Wolf Family Collection

America Without Reserve: The Wolf Family Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1096. Portrait Relief of Stillman Witt.

Erastus Dow Palmer

Portrait Relief of Stillman Witt

No reserve

Lot Closed

April 24, 05:37 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 USD

Lot Details


Erastus Dow Palmer

1817 - 1904

Portrait Relief of Stillman Witt

signed E.D. PALMER S.C. and dated 75 (lower right)


24¼ x 18¼ in. (61.6 x 46.4 cm.)

Executed in 1875.

Michael Hall Fine Art, New York
Wolf Family Collection No. 0228 (acquired from the above on September 4, 1978)

James Carson Webster, Erastus D. Palmer, Newark, 1983, pl. 134, p. 253, illustrated

Stillman Witt (1808-1875) was born into a family with few resources and little access to education; nonetheless, he rose to prominence as an executive in the American railroad and steel industries in the mid-19th century. His profile in the present work suggests the determination and decisiveness required to achieve such success.

Since this marble relief is dated 1875, the year of Witt's death, Erastus Dow Palmer likely relied on photographs of Witt as source material for his likeness. Palmer made a second version of this relief in 1876, and later, two bronze busts of Witt in 1883 (one of which is in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art). These posthumous depictions of Witt speak to his enduring legacy, and this particular relief has been exhibited widely—having been on long-term loan at two prominent American museums and having been included in the 1883-84 exhibition Erastus Dow Palmer: A Native American Neoclassical Sculptor at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.