New-York Historical is temporarily closed to help contain the spread of COVID-19, but we expect to reopen August 14 with a free, outdoor exhibition. See more details on our Visit page.

What a Relief! Innovations in American Sculpture, 1875–1910
The C. Richard Hilker Lecture
David B. Dearinger
Thu, May 7, 2020 | 6:30 pm | FREE*

PROGRAM CANCELED: This program has been canceled to help support the city’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of our visitors and staff. More details on our Visit page

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Explore the works of America’s two leading sculptors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) and Daniel Chester French (1850–1931). Particular attention will be given to their innovations in relief sculpture. During the last quarter of the 19th century, just as painters were manipulating their materials in new ways, sculptors were reconsidering traditional ways of sculpting. Saint-Gaudens encouraged his fellow sculptors to de-neutralize the flat backgrounds of relief sculpture and use them to suggest space, atmosphere, and mood. In doing so, sculptors of the period brought their work into alignment with that of those contemporary painters who were working in impressionistic and expressionistic modes.

David B. Dearinger is an art historian and museum curator who specializes in the history of 19th-century American painting and sculpture.

This is a special program presented free of charge by the Sansom Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports numerous causes. Since 2001, the Foundation has held a series of scholarly lectures to celebrate and commemorate the leadership of the late C. Richard Hilker, its past President.


The Robert H. Smith Auditorium at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

Creative: Tronvig Group