Adams Memorial, 1886-91

Historian Henry Adams commissioned this monument for the grave of his wife, Marion Hooper Adams, who died by suicide in 1885.  Adams suggested Saint-Gaudens might study images from Buddhism and Christian iconography, especially Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Sibyls.  Saint-Gaudens created what has been called his most unusual work, combining male and female characteristics in a synthesis of both Eastern and Western visual references.

Bronze figure, 5 feet 10 inches
(1.79 m.) high, on granite base

Bronze head, 20 1/2 inches
(52 cm.), collection of SGNHS

The monument, installed in 1891 in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C., is one of several collaborations with architect Stanford White.  It quickly became a subject of great speculation and interest. The meditative quality of the piece has inspired people as diverse as Cecil Spring-Rice, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Lincoln Kirstein in poetry, literature, and daily life.