Bronze bas-relief, 10 ¾ x 19 in. (27.3 x 48 cm),
collection of SGNHS

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1898
by Helen Farnsworth Mears

Helen Farnsworth Mears (1876-1916) was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1876. She met Saint-Gaudens in 1894 in New York at the Art Students League. After two weeks in his Life Class, Saint-Gaudens took her into his studio, making her one of his first female assistants. In 1896, she went to Paris, studying there until December 1898. In 1898, she worked as an assistant to Saint-Gaudens and occupied a studio nearby in the rue Notre Dame des Champs. Here Mears assisted with the Sherman Monument and other commissions, and began work on this bas-relief portrait. The portrait is a three-quarter view of Saint-Gaudens standing in front of the small sketch model for the Sherman group. She later removed the bottom half of the relief. At the same time, Helen's sister Mary Mears developed the historical novelization of Saint-Gaudens’ life, which she later published as The Breath of Runners (NY, 1906).