After Marion “Clover” Adams died, Henry Adams asked Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create a memorial for his wife’s gravesite. Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor of the Farragut memorial in New York and the Standing Lincoln in Chicago, normally wouldn’t have any problem creating a piece for a private site. However, Marion Adams had taken her own life. How do you memorialize a life that ended with such sadness? Saint-Gaudens’ answer is the The Adams Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetery.
The Adams Memorial is one of six major works highlighted in the documentary Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture. The film follows the life of Saint-Gaudens through his works, focusing on the Standing Lincoln, the Farragut Memorial, the Shaw Memorial, Sherman Monument, Diana statue, and the Adams Memorial as milestones in his career. Although I appreciated the overview of his scuptural works, the documentary made what seemed like a rather interesting life, dull. It brushed over his experience as an immigrant, his travels in Europe, and his affairs. But I loved the segment on the Adams Memorial and the Shaw Memorial.
If interested you can see some of his work in Chicago. You can see the Standing Lincoln in Lincoln Park, the Sitting Lincoln and the Logan Memorial in Grant Park, and a few different studies at the Art Institute. Of course, you can watch the DVD to see them from your own living room.