Bronze, 7 1/4 x 4 7/8 inches
(18.42 x 12.38 cm.), collection of SGNHS

Charles F. McKim, 1878

Charles Follen McKim (1847-1909) was partner with Stanford White and William Rutherford Mead in one of the most important architectural firms in the United States during the nineteenth century. Born in Philadelphia and educated briefly at Harvard, McKim began his architectural career in New York City in the office of Russell Sturgis. In 1867 he became one of the first Americans to study architecture at the cole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1870, he returned to America and entered the firm of Charles D. Gamrill and Henry Hobson Richardson. In 1877 McKim created a new firm with William B. Bigelow and William Rutherford Mead. Stanford White took the place of Bigelow in 1879.

This portrait was made after a journey taken by McKim, White, and Saint-Gaudens to the south of France. The decorative borders of acanthus leaves refer to McKim’s interest in classical art, and to the profession of architecture. McKim and Saint-Gaudens were involved in a number of projects, most notably the work on the Shaw Memorial, the founding of the American Academy in Rome, and the McMillan Commission for the redesign of the City of Washington. Both McKim and Saint-Gaudens were early members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City, the sculptor in 1904 and the architect in 1905.