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Classification: Sculpture

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Image of Girl with Water Lilies

Adams Herbert
American, 1858–1945

Girl with Water Lilies

1928, cast about 1945

Object Type: Sculpture
62 3/4 in. x 21 in. x 18 in. (159.39 cm x 53.34 cm x 45.72 cm)
Medium and Support: Bronze
Accession Number: 1946.0003

Credit Line: Anonymous gift

Currently On View

"Girl with Water Lilies" is a handsome late work by the traditional figurative sculptor Herbert Adams. The Museum's bronze cast is signed and dated 1928, however the exact date of the casting is unknown. Adams studied at a technical school in Worchester and at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston, then journeyed to Paris to study with Antonin Mercie at the Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1885-90. There he achieved renown for innovative busts of women that helped define the ideal of feminine beauty at the turn of the century. Adams tinted the marble of these busts to achieve a warmth and life-likeness that was totally absent from the work of his mid-century Neoclassical predecessors. He added carved wooden elements, metal, and semi-precious stones to some busts, giving them a richness that reflects the influence of the Florentine Renaissance and distinguishes them from other busts of the period.
The "Girl with Water Lilies" was originally modelled and commissioned as a work of garden sculpture for the Clapp Estate in Cleveland on Harper and Cannon Roads. This second version is slightly different, however it retains character of this first cast, now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C.. With great elegance and a hint of idealized detachment, the girl strides through the garden, her limp lilies dripping like the wet gown that reveals her handsome figure—a Beaux-Arts essay in feminine beauty by a master of the form.

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