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George Washington Bowen (1794-1885)

Classification: 
Date: 
1885
Medium: 
Plaster
Dimensions: 
Overall: 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 3 1/8 in. ( 21 x 13.3 x 7.9 cm )
Description: 
Death mask.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. William H. Shelton
Object Number: 
1928.38
Marks: 
inscribed: on back in red paint: "950" [old N-YHS cat. #]
Gallery Label: 
George Washington Bowen was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and worked as a baker, weaver and shopkeeper in Newport. In several unsuccessful lawsuits he claimed to be the son and heir of Eliza Bowen (Madame Stephen Jumel).
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1885
eMuseum Object ID: 
231
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870)

Classification: 
Date: 
Mid-19th century
Medium: 
Off-white painted plaster
Dimensions: 
diameter: 19 1/4 in. ( 48.9 cm )
Description: 
Bas-relief portrait
Object Number: 
X.39
Marks: 
inscribed: on back in pencil: "Admiral Farragut"
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
0
eMuseum Object ID: 
224
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Returned Volunteer: How The Fort Was Taken

Classification: 
Date: 
1864
Medium: 
Painted plaster
Dimensions: 
Overall: 20 x 14 x 9 in. ( 50.8 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm )
Description: 
Genre figure
Credit Line: 
Gift of Miss Miriam Egbert Greenwood School in memory of her father, Mr. George Drew Egbert
Object Number: 
1940.845
Marks: 
inscribed: front of base: "RETURNED VOLUNTEER/HOW THE FORT WAS TAKEN"
Gallery Label: 
In September 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Rogers wrote that he was working on a new group that he expected to be his most popular yet. He had just begun using bronze master models to cast his sculptures, which allowed him to create larger and more complex compositions that approach paintings in their detail and narrative power. Here he depicted a triumphant returning soldier visiting the local blacksmith, whose tools he is using to recount a battle; he has made a fortification on the floor at right, and a horseshoe and nails at left represent the opposing battery. The soldier is every bit the conquering hero, handsome, fervent, and still in full uniform. However, he crouches at the right of the composition, and the blacksmith stands at the apex. His age is indicated by his baldness and glasses, but he is of brawny and classicized proportions; veins bulge in his arms, and he is physically larger than the soldier, particularly when the two men's hands are compared. He easily rests his hammer on his anvil and watches the soldier's tale being played out on the floor of his workshop. At left a little girl shyly raises her apron to her mouth in a childlike gesture while grasping one of the blacksmith's mammoth fingers in her hand. Rogers was known for celebrating the everyday honor and courage of rank-and-file soldiers. But in this sculpture it is unclear exactly who the hero is; Rogers gave equal prominence to the older man who presumably stayed at home plying his trade and caring for his family. Rogers himself did not volunteer to serve and may have had a personal stake in ennobling both the civilian and the soldier (his draft notice arrived in April 1865, just weeks before the war ended). Rogers conceived the group a few months after the New York draft riots. March 1, 1863, marked the passage of the Enrollment Act, instituting the first Union draft. It was meant to encourage volunteering, but it backfired tragically. The law allowed draftees to commute their service by paying a fee of three hundred dollars or by hiring a substitute, and many complained that the dispensation made the conflict "a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight." For four days in July, New York erupted in a rampage of looting and violence in protest, resulting in 105 dead. Perhaps in response, Rogers offered a reassuring example of a vital young man returned safely home after a Union triumph, while also affirming the importance of those who stayed behind. Ultimately, it proved one of his most popular groups and remained in his sales catalogue until 1889, long after he had stopped offering his other Civil War subjects for sale.
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vols. 1, 3, 4, New York Historical Society. "Fine Arts," The Evening Post, New York, Nov. 24, 1863, p. 2. New-York Daily Tribune, Jan. 15, 1864, p. 8. "Sketches of American Artists: Church, Bierstadt, Kensett, Gifford, Inness, Rogers, Story and Ward," The Evening Post, New York, June 25, 1864, p.1. Daily Evening Transcript, Boston, July 14, 1865, n.p. Tuckerman, Henry T., Book of the Artists, American Artist Life, Comprising Biographical and Critical Sketches of American Artists: Preceded by an Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of Art in America, New York: P. Putnam & Son, 1867, pp. 595-7. Wells, Samuel R., ed., "John Rogers, the Sculptor," American Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated," Vol. 49, no. 9, September 1869, pp. 329-30. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 78. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp.68-9. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 100, 210-1. Wallace, David H., "The Art of John Rogers: So Real and So True," American Art Journal, November, 1972, pp. 59-70. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 88-9. Clapper, Michael, "Reconstructing a Family: John Rogers's Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations," Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 39, No. 4, Winter 2004, pp. 259-78.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1864
eMuseum Object ID: 
145
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Rip Van Winkle at Home

Classification: 
Date: 
1871
Medium: 
Painted plaster
Dimensions: 
Overall: 18 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 8 1/4 in. ( 46.4 x 26 x 21 cm )
Description: 
Literary figure.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. Samuel V. Hoffman
Object Number: 
1928.33
Marks: 
signed: top front of base: "JOHN ROGERS/NEW YORK" inscribed: back of wall: "PATENTED/MAY 14 (?)/1871" inscribed: front of base: "RIP VAN WINKLE/AT HOME"
Gallery Label: 
Rogers' three Rip Van Winkle groups comprise his first formal series. The artist's long-standing interest in storytelling was already well known, and viewers enjoyed decoding the narratives implied in the meticulous detail of his groups. For this serial subject, Rogers expanded his notion of narrative beyond the use of accessories to create a more powerful sense of temporality with multiple groups. He chose a particularly appropriate theme, which centers on the passage of time. Washington Irving wrote "Rip Van Winkle" in 1819, and it quickly became one of his most popular tales. It tells about the years before the American Revolutionary War, when Rip Van Winkle lives in a village at the foot of New York's Catskill Mountains. An amiable man whose home and farm suffer from his lazy neglect, he is loved by everyone except his wife. One autumn day he escapes her nagging by wandering into the mountains. There he encounters strangely dressed men, rumored to be the ghosts of Henry Hudson's crew, who are playing ninepins. After drinking some of their liquor, he settles down under a shady tree and falls asleep. He wakes and returns to his village, where he finds twenty years have passed. Late-nineteenth-century Americans were intimately familiar with Irving's story and its popularity owed in large part to its huge success as a stage play starring Joseph Jefferson. One of the most acclaimed actors of his time, Jefferson first starred in a production of Rip Van Winkle in 1859. By 1883 he estimated that he had played the part on no fewer than 4,500 occasions. Rogers saw Jefferson play the role in 1869, and he asked Jefferson to sit for the sculptures. The artist's talents as a portraitist served him well; the series enjoyed acclaim and popularity, remaining in Rogers' catalogue until the end of his career. Praises for the series connected it closely with Jefferson and his fame as Rip, making the groups as much icons of popular culture as of literary culture. One critic of Rogers' sculptures spent nearly as much ink on Jefferson as on the works themselves, claiming, "Jefferson has made the story of Rip more truly his own than it even is Washington Irving's." In taking on a beloved American story that had been turned into a wildly successful play, Rogers translated Irving's story from book to stage to plaster, and he carefully negotiated the layers of meaning that accumulated with each of these transitions. He made judicious choices about which aspects he would retain and which he would eliminate, taking full advantage of the unique capabilities of his medium. Contemporary critics were well aware of these fine distinctions, and more than one noted that the settings Rogers chose were taken not from the play, but from Irving's story. The New York Evening Post writer commented that in spite of Rip's "'Jeffersonian' cast," the surroundings closely followed Irving's text. A Chicago critic pointed out that "although [Rogers] faithfully portrays the great actor in the person of Rip, he does not copy any situation occurring in the drama." At the same time, Rip was "attired in a dress literally copied from what Jefferson wears in the early scenes of the play, every fold and wrinkle and tatter of which is familiar to us all." Rogers' union of literature, theater, and sculpture was considered particularly nuanced and successful: one writer noted, "If there is less of the plain A.B.C. in these groups than Mr. Rogers has usually given to the world, there is a delicate, half-hidden subtlety of expressions and touch that are nonetheless readily comprehended by those who can read character by facial expression." Rogers introduced each composition in his sales catalogues with a quote from Irving's tale explaining the action, and Jefferson's character and likeness are naturally the focus of attention. However, the space Rogers created was not a theatrical box with one frontal vantage point (as in his later Shakespearean groups). Rather, Rogers exploited the sculptural medium to show each incident in the round, from all sides. His spiraling compositions create a vertiginous sense of disorientation that is perfectly in keeping with the mood of Irving's tale. In this first group, Rip comfortably leans against a fence rail, an affable playmate for a little girl at his shoulder wearing his hat and pulling his hair and a boy trying to raise and aim his gun. Rogers' sales catalogues quoted from Irving's narrative: "The children of the village would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians." Their mischief prefigures the trickery of the gnome who offers Rip a draft in the next group in the series, Rip Van Winkle on the Mountain.
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vols. 1, 3, 4, New York Historical Society. The Evening Post, New York, Dec. 19, 1870, p.1. Watson's Art Journal, New York. April 1, 1971, p. 260. The Evening Post, New York, May 23, 1871, p. 1. Daily Evening Transcript, Boston, June 1, 1871, p. 1. Watson's Art Journal, New York. Vol..XV, No. 6, June 10, 1871, p. 68 (reprint of Daily Evening Transcript item). Newark Daily Advertiser, Newark, N.J., Sep. 30, 1871, p. 1. The Aldine, New York, Vol. IV, No. 11, November, 1871, p. 181. Partridge, William Ordway, "John Rogers, The Peoples Sculptor," The New England Magazine, Feb., 1896, Vol. XIII, No. 6, pp. 705-21. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 78. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp.68-9. Baker, Charles E., "John Rogers As He Depicted American Literature," American Collector, Vol. 13, No. 10, pp. 10-1, 16. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 109, 111, 144, 166-7, 226-7, 294, 301. Holzer, Harold, and Farber, Joseph, "The Sculpture of John Rogers," Antiques Magazine, April 1979, pp. 756-768. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 126-7.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1871
eMuseum Object ID: 
144
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Coming To The Parson

Classification: 
Date: 
1870
Medium: 
Painted plaster
Dimensions: 
Overall: 21 3/4 x 16 1/2 x 10 in. ( 55.2 x 41.9 x 25.4 cm )
Description: 
Genre figure
Credit Line: 
Gift from an unidentified source
Object Number: 
INV.710
Marks: 
inscribed: top base between table legs: "AL"
Gallery Label: 
Coming to the Parson was Rogers' most popular group by far, selling more than eight thousand copies, approximately one-tenth of his total output. In a decisive break from his earlier focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction, Rogers offered a reassuring image of hope, a new beginning, and, literally, of union, for which Americans hungered after a traumatic decade of war and its aftermath. Rogers depicted a rustic couple interrupting a minister to ask him to perform an impromptu ceremony. The young man with a flower in his buttonhole clutches his hat awkwardly, and his intended peeks shyly around him. She has dressed in her best, and she bites her makeshift veil in a childish gesture that points out her tender age. The parson, still in his dressing gown, looks up in surprise at the impatient couple. He is reading a newspaper that Rogers, adding a note of humor, entitled The Union. Rogers wryly hinted that the couple's future might hold less than harmonious moments by including a dog and cat that crouch at their feet, poised for a fight. Rogers struck a resonant chord with his new subject, which combined nostalgia for lost innocence and intimations of a brighter future. His figures were understood to be country folk, signaling a rural American past that was lamented as a purer, simpler era, now lost. However, the marriage offered hope for a new "Union," perhaps not only for the young lovers but also between the North and South. Contemporary writers relished telling the story of Rogers' sculpture, with its gently humorous nuances and flourishes, linking it to an earnest optimism about home and family. The New York Evening Mail assured its readers that "This is no runaway match-not a bit of it. There is honest, manly purpose in every inch of that young fellow and that she has her mother's blessing who can doubt that looks into her radiant face?" Another writer concurred, "One laughs first at the gaucherie of the lovers, but after a little study discovers that it is not a laughing matter at all. These young people are not on a frolic; the business that has brought them here is the most serious business they have ever undertaken." The public embraced Rogers' subject with delight. Importantly for its popularity, the year that Rogers released this group he began to offer free delivery to any express station in the United States, expanding his sales far beyond the East Coast, so that Coming to the Parson achieved tremendous nationwide popularity as a wedding gift. The subject became an icon of American culture; nearly eighty years later Norman Rockwell referenced the group in his "April Fool" cover for the Saturday Evening Post dated April 3, 1948. Titled Curiosity Shop, it illustrates an encounter between the elderly owner and a very young patron. Among the quirky items meant to test the viewer's alertness is a Rogers Group that conflates the solider from one of his Civil War groups with the young woman about to be married, in an unintended reminder of the links between this group and his Civil War subjects. Clearly, Coming to the Parson was still familiar enough to the public that Rockwell could expect his audience to understand the joke.
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vols. 1, 3, 4, New York Historical Society. "The Sculptor Rogers Latest Group," New York Evening Mail, Apr. 5, 1870, p. 1. "Art Notes," The Evening Post, New York, Oct. 4, 1870, p. 2. Harper's Weekly, March 6, 1875, p. 208. New York Daily Graphic, Jan. 8, 1877, p. 3. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 74. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp. 74-5. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 114, 150, 225, 239, 294, 304. Craven, Wayne, Sculpture in America, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1968, pp. 357-366. Bourdon, David, "The story-telling statuettes of John Rogers, 19th-century people's artist, are being eagerly collected again," Smithsonian, Vol. 6, No. 2, May 1975, pp. 51-7. Holtzer, Harold and Farber, Joseph, "The Sculpture of John Rogers," Antiques Magazine, April 1979, pp. 756-768. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 122-3.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1870
eMuseum Object ID: 
143
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

The Shaughraun and "Tatters"

Classification: 
Date: 
1875
Medium: 
Painted plaster with lead parts
Dimensions: 
Overall: 19 5/16 x 11 1/4 x 8 3/8 in. ( 49.1 x 28.6 x 21.3 cm )
Description: 
Genre figure.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. Samuel V. Hoffman
Object Number: 
1929.106
Marks: 
signed: center stone wall: "JOHN ROGERS/NEW YORK" inscribed: front of base: "THE SHAUGHRAUN AND "TATTERS" inscribed: back of base: "PATENTED MAR 2 1875"
Gallery Label: 
Rogers' later oeuvre includes a number of scenes from popular plays of his day. The sculptor enjoyed great success with his series of three works based on the stage version of Washington Irving's tale "Rip Van Winkle." The play was written by the Irish actor, playwright, and producer Dion Boucicault and presented at New York's Olympia Theater in 1866. Rogers probably met Boucicault while at work on the Rip Van Winkle series, and the artist began this vignette from Boucicault's 1874 play The Shaughraun very soon after it opened. Boucicault wrote and starred in The Shaughraun, a play set in present-day Ireland centering on the fortunes of the siblings Robert and Claire Ffolliott. The local squire Corry Kinchela schemes to acquire their family estate, as well as Robert's fiancée. He sets up Robert to be arrested as a Fenian (a supporter of Irish independence) and exiled to Australia. The English officer Captain Molineux enters the action in search of Fenians and becomes enamored of Claire. Robert's boyhood friend Conn (the Shaughraun) comes to his aid. In a series of kidnappings, escapes, last-minute rescues by Conn, and even Conn's feigned death, at the play's end Robert is a free man, Molineux and Claire Ffolliott will marry, and the Fenians are granted general amnesty. The play opened at Wallack's Theater on November 14, 1874, to uniformly enthusiastic reviews and enjoyed an exceptionally long run of 143 performances. Boucicault sat for Rogers in December, as did the dog who played the role of Tatters (Rogers' sketchbook, 1955.275, includes measurements and a sketch). As he did with his Rip Van Winkle series, Rogers focused on the single figure, rather than creating a multifigure composition. He depicted Conn describing "how he made his dog perform to amuse the soldiers outside the prison where his master [Robert] was confined, while he [Conn] played familiar tunes on his fiddle to let him know that he was there." Rogers faithfully reproduced Boucicault's costume, and virtually every notice of the sculpture praised how masterfully the artist captured the actor's likeness and manner. On the show's closing night, March 6, 1875, a group of twenty-five New Yorkers presented a version of the statue to Boucicault in congratulations for the play's success. Boucicault insisted that the title of the play be The Shaughraun, a term that most New Yorkers were unlikely to know (much less be able to pronounce). It was an Irish word for a vagabond or wanderer, describing the main character Conn. Boucicault's choice is in keeping with the nationalism that informs the play itself. Though Boucicault was later criticized for indulging in stereotypes, including the common "stage Irish" portrayal of Conn as a drunken comic rogue, The Shaughraun was pioneering in its address of Fenians. New Yorkers would have known about ongoing violence in Ireland over English rule, and they would have been keenly aware of the Orange Riots that had rocked New York in 1870 and 1871. On July 12 of both years, Irish Catholics clashed with Irish Protestants marching to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne that confirmed the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland. Eight died in 1870, and more than sixty were killed the following year. Boucicault's play combined sensationalism and realism to offer a final scenario of reconciliation between the English and Irish characters and, notably, the pardon of Irish nationalists. Boucicault had addressed contentious social issues before. In 1859 he produced an antislavery play titled The Octoroon, based on the tragic type of the beautiful light-skinned woman doomed to a life of slavery based on her one-eighth portion of African American blood. Rogers may have felt a kinship with Boucicault in his embrace of current issues; Rogers' own controversial antislavery sculpture The Slave Auction dated from the same year, and he had considered the octoroon as a subject. There is no evidence that Rogers had a particular sympathy for the Irish cause, but he would certainly have been aware of the play's political subtext. In taking on a potentially incendiary subject that also represented one of the most popular plays of the decade, Rogers made a vital connection with both political events and American culture. The Shaughraun and "Tatters" proved popular among Rogers' audience and apparently had a lasting appeal; it remained in his sales catalogues into the late 1880s.
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vols. 3, 4, New York Historical Society. Appleton's Journal: a Magazine of General Literature, New York, Vol. 13, Issue 308, Feb. 13, 1875, pp. 216-7. Daily Evening Transcript, Boston, Feb. 18, 1875, p. 6. The Evening Post, New York, Feb. 22, 1875, p. 1. Daily Evening Transcript, Boston, March 23, 1875, p. 6. The Evening Post, New York, March. 25, 1875, p. 1. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 78. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp.82-3. Baker, Charles E., "John Rogers As He Depicted American Literature," American Collector, Vol. 13, No. 10, pp. 10-1, 16. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 109, 237, 294, 304. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 152-3.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1875
eMuseum Object ID: 
142
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Wounded To The Rear, One More Shot

Classification: 
Date: 
1864
Medium: 
Painted plaster
Dimensions: 
Overall: 23 3/4 x 10 x 9 1/2 in. ( 60.3 x 25.4 x 24.1 cm )
Description: 
A plaster sculptural group featuring two wounded soldiers. To the right, a standing soldier tries to get a cartridge out of its case while his other arm is in a sling. To the left, a sitting soldier wraps a bandage around his leg. Group bears Patent # 2024: January 17, 1865.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. Samuel V. Hoffman
Object Number: 
1929.92
Marks: 
inscribed: back of base: "PATENTED/ JAN 17..." inscribed: front of base: "WOUNDED TO THE REAR/ONE MORE SHOT"
Gallery Label: 
Rogers began work on this sculpture in September 1864, when war-weary Northerners were heartened by General William T. Sherman's capture of Atlanta. By the time Rogers released the group in November, Abraham Lincoln had been reelected by a wide margin, and Sherman's March to the Sea had devastated the South. Rogers' timing was excellent, and his choice of subject, the courage and tenacity of the Union soldier, proved very popular. His sales catalogue described how two wounded Union soldiers had been ordered to the rear during a battle, but one stopped to take one last shot at the enemy before leaving. The standing soldier's left arm is in a sling, and with his good arm he draws a cartridge from his pouch as he casts a flinty stare at the enemy. His comrade sits below, carefully binding up his injured leg. The subject was commonly known as One More Shot to distinguish it from Rogers' previous group Wounded Scout: A Friend in the Swamp (1936.655, 1928.31). In that work, an escaped slave guides an injured Union soldier who is almost fainting in his arms. By contrast, the wounded infantrymen in One More Shot are stalwart, and Rogers' depiction of the rank-and-file soldier's fighting spirit in the face of adversity earned the group lasting popularity. It remained in his sales catalogue until the end of his career, and it was a popular gift for veterans. In fact, it was one of two Rogers Groups that General George Custer took with him wherever he was assigned. Naturally, the subject was warmly praised for heroizing the Union soldier, but it also earned accolades for its artistic merits. A Brooklyn newspaper pointed out Rogers' success in integrating his storytelling details into a successful whole. The group even earned international acclaim for its originality. Rogers took a honeymoon trip to Europe in May 1865 and arranged for the display and sale of his groups in London. The London Times reported that his Civil War groups, One More Shot among them, "have the refreshing and unmistakable stamp of nationality upon them," and they represented "better work for the plastic artist than imitating [the] antique nudities [of the traditional Neoclassical style]." One More Shot was so admired that it was used as a commemorative gift, a kind of monument in miniature, for important Civil War figures after the fighting ended. Friends of William A. Buckingham commissioned a copy in bronze from Rogers to present to that wartime Connecticut governor (now in a private collection). In 1868 a plaster copy was given to General Joseph R. Hawley, then president of the Republican National Convention that nominated General Ulysses S. Grant for the presidency. Hawley declared, "Nothing relating to the war in painting or sculpture surpasses 'One Shot More.'"
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vols. 1, 3, 4, New York Historical Society. Daily Evening Transcript, Boston, July 14, 1865, n.p. Tuckerman, Henry T., Book of the Artists, American Artist Life, Comprising Biographical and Critical Sketches of American Artists: Preceded by an Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of Art in America, New York: P. Putnam & Son, 1867, pp. 595-7. Wells, Samuel R., ed., "John Rogers, the Sculptor," American Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated, Vol. 49, no. 9, September, 1869, pp. 329-30. Lossing, Benson J., "The Artist as Historian," The American Historical Record, Vol. 1, no. 6, June, 1872, pp. 16, 242-4. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 76. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp.70-1. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 101, 117, 135, 148, 166, 213-4, 294, 297-9, 304. Craven, Wayne, Sculpture in America, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1968, pp. 357-366. Rivers, Betty, "Sculpture for the Parlor," The New York Times, July 28, 1968, p. 21. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 92-3. Clapper, Michael, "Reconstructing a Family: John Rogers's Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations," Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 39, No. 4, Winter 2004, pp. 259-78.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1864
eMuseum Object ID: 
141
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

The Elder's Daughter

Classification: 
Date: 
1886
Medium: 
Painted plaster with metal parts
Dimensions: 
Overall: 21 x 19 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. ( 53.3 x 49.5 x 24.1 cm )
Description: 
Genre figure.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. Samuel V. Hoffman
Object Number: 
1929.97
Marks: 
signed: proper right top of base: "JOHN ROGERS/NEW YORK" inscribed: front of base: "THE EDLER'S DAUGHTER"
Gallery Label: 
Rogers' sales catalogue describes this group as follows: "A Puritan Elder is riding home from Sabbath meeting. He has dropped the reins on the horse's neck and has been absorbed in studying his Bible. His daughter rides behind him on a pillion, while a young man walks by her side and offers her an apple from amongst the hatful he has gathered. This is considered a desecration of the Sabbath by the stern father, who looks at the young man reprovingly." At the apex of the composition is the Elder, sitting ramrod straight in the saddle. He glowers forbiddingly as he turns his head toward the young man handing an apple to his daughter. Their curving postures contrast with his stiff bearing. Their hands touch fleetingly, and their shared gaze parallels the older man's glare, which the young lovers barely notice. Rogers rendered the figures in simple Puritan dress. The two men wear high, wide-brimmed hats, though the Elder's is firmly placed on his head, enhancing his intimidating height, while the younger has taken his off to use as an apple basket-in perhaps another breach of decorum. Rogers was acclaimed for his mastery of equine anatomy, and the horse bearing the Elder and his daughter has a part in the story as well, pawing the ground as if impatient to be on its way. In this work the artist returned to the tried-and-true subject of courtship that he had used to great effect in Parting Promise (1929.82, 1940.203) and The Tap on the Window (1929.86), among other groups. However, this time he also satirized the nation's Pilgrim roots. The last quarter of the nineteenth century witnessed a revival of interest in the country's origins, inspired by the 1876 centennial celebrations and by nativist fears that massive immigration might dilute American culture. Some artists responded by heroizing the early settlers, as in the case of John Quincy Adams Ward's life-size bronze The Pilgrim, commissioned in 1885 by the New England Society in the City of New York and installed in Central Park. Rogers took the opposite approach, skewering notions of the country's mythologized Puritan roots by gently mocking their strict codes of conduct. The Elder is a caricature of righteous indignation over a minor infraction of the code of Sabbath rest, and his consternation can only be exacerbated by the deleterious influence the supposedly wayward young man might have on his daughter. One writer chuckled, "one almost hears the uncorking of Puritanical vials of wrath." When Rogers created this sculpture, he was probably aware of contentious debates over another question of Sabbath rest, not least, whether cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art should open on Sundays to allow working people to attend. Here Rogers seems to have registered his opinion that such restrictions need not be taken to extremes. Newspapers often connected The Elder's Daughter with "Why Don't You Speak for Yourself, John?" (1936.660, 1926.36, 1958.14a) from the previous year, another scene of flirtation from the nation's early history, taken from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem The Courtship of Miles Standish. The New Orleans Daily Picayune announced, "John Rogers Sculpturing Puritans Again," and other newspapers paired the two groups by illustrating them side by side. In the 1885 group Rogers took his inspiration from an already existing story, but in The Elder's Daughter his original conception suggests not only the wellspring of humor from which his subjects flowed but also a hint of mischievous irreverence rarely seen in his work.
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vols. 1, 3, 4, New York Historical Society. Unattributed Article, Dec. 2, 1886, New York Historical Society, Miscellaneous Rogers Materials, Box 1. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 74. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp.94-5. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 119, 254-5, 295. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 198-9.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1886
eMuseum Object ID: 
140
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

The Peddler At The Fair

Classification: 
Date: 
1878
Medium: 
Bronze
Dimensions: 
Overall: 20 1/4 x 18 x 10 1/4 in. ( 51.4 x 45.7 x 26 cm )
Description: 
Genre figure
Credit Line: 
Purchase
Object Number: 
1947.145
Marks: 
signed: center front base: "JOHN ROGERS/NEW YORK/1878" inscribed: proper left top back corner: "PATENTED/DEC.10th.1878" inscribed: front base: "THE PEDDLER AT THE FAIR"
Gallery Label: 
This bronze served as the master model for the plasters that Rogers sold to a broad audience of middle-class Americans. In the mid-1870s Rogers assayed a handful of subjects dealing with men who earned their livings as itinerants, whether performers, such as the organ grinder in School Days (1936.642, 1929.101) and The Traveling Magician (1936.637, 1926.35) or a vendor. Here Rogers created what appears at first glance to be a gentle, lighthearted vignette. However, on closer examination, it hints at the unsavory realities of these lower-class professions and the darker side of realism that sometimes showed through the artist's usually upbeat subjects. Nineteenth-century fairs of every kind were populated by traveling peddlers selling merchandise that ranged from dubious medicines to household goods. Rogers' peddler sells jewelry and other baubles, and his wares have caught the interest of a young woman in an elegant dress and feathered hat. She is coaxing her father to buy her a necklace. Her father, also well dressed and wearing a scowl of disapproval, gives in to her whim and digs into his pocket for the purchase price. Critics suggested that his reluctance might be due to irritation at purchasing cheap goods, or simply stinginess. In fact, one columnist with the pseudonym Pax, misinterpreted them as a married couple and used the sculpture as an occasion to urge husbands to be more generous with their wives. Whatever the cause, contemporary writers were quick to recognize the familiar domestic drama that played out between fathers and daughters. In fact, Rogers may have been inspired by a similar incident in his own family, perhaps with his ten-year-old daughter, Katherine. Ever the dedicated realist, Rogers could not entirely gloss over the difficult lives led by itinerant salesmen. He carefully depicted the class differences between the salesman and his customers: they are fashionably dressed, but his clothing is modest and plain. In contrast to the dignified (if disgruntled) demeanor of the father, the peddler looks somewhat clownlike. He has clothed himself in his wares, pinning hair ornaments to his coat and wearing a hat decorated with necklaces. The eagerness in his face as he leans forward suggests that he needs the sale. The year that Rogers released this sculpture, the United States was still recovering from a recession, so the peddler's plight was shared by many others. Given Rogers' long-standing interest in horses, it is both poignant and revealing that he illustrated the peddler's plight through his steed. In contrast to Rogers' earlier depictions of lively, healthy horses, such as those in Going for the Cows (1936.650, 1929.98) and We Boys (1936.711, 1936.661, 1929.96), this one stands passive and dispirited, and from the back the viewer can see that its ribs strain against its skin; the horse is underfed, perhaps like the peddler himself. Though The Peddler at the Fair received glowing reviews, it did not prove very popular, perhaps because Rogers' depiction of the starker realities of the lower classes was considered an unsettling subject for middle-class parlors.
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vol. 4, New York Historical Society. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society", New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 78. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp.88-9. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 119, 134, 245. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 170-1.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1878
eMuseum Object ID: 
134
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Chess

Classification: 
Date: 
1889
Medium: 
Painted plaster and terracotta
Dimensions: 
Overall: 21 x 18 x 16 in. ( 53.3 x 45.7 x 40.6 cm )
Description: 
Genre figure.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. Samuel V. Hoffman
Object Number: 
1929.84
Marks: 
signed: top front of base: "JOHN ROGERS/NEW YORK" inscribed: front of base: "CHESS"
Gallery Label: 
Board games, checkers in particular, are a recurring motif in Rogers' oeuvre. He first attempted the subject in clay in 1855 (Historic New England). Five years later he developed the composition into one of his first widely distributed groups, Checker Players (1949.276, 1936.717), a scene modeled after a painting by the English genre painter Sir David Wilkie that depicts two rural types enjoying a friendly game. In 1875 Rogers employed his greatly enhanced technical skills to create a more nuanced subject, Checkers Up at the Farm (1936.629, 1928.29), in which an older, well-to-do city dweller is bested by a simple, robust young farmer. Here Rogers visited the theme one final time in a scene that is both more and less sophisticated than his 1875 version. Two men, one older and the other younger, are playing chess, and in his sales catalogue Rogers pointed out that the position of the pieces on the board was taken from Howard Staunton's Chess Player's Companion. The artist carefully described how the bishop, king, pawn, and queen in the second row (the young man's pieces) are white, and how they would checkmate the older man's black pieces in seven moves. The young player leans back expansively and indulges in refreshment, casting a flirtatious glance at the pretty serving girl who pours a drink into his cup. His bewildered older companion leans forward, intently studying the board in search of an escape from his difficult position. Rogers and two of his sons, Alex and Derby, were avid chess players, and the incipient defeat of the elder by the younger man may well have been rooted in a father-and-son contest. In moving from checkers to chess, Roger chose a much more intellectually demanding game, and the players have been transformed from contemporary Americans to effete historic figures garbed in elaborately decorated costumes. Rogers offered his viewers no indication of what period or country the figures inhabited. One writer suggested they were colonial Americans, but the scrolling trim on their coats, their artfully frilly cravats, and the elaborate carving on their chairs, particularly that of the young man with its claw feet and griffin carved into the woodwork, suggest mid-eighteenth-century Europe. Rogers was usually careful to make the story abundantly clear to his viewers; in this case we know that the young man will win, but it is not clear why the artist removed the scene from the present time and place. It may be that Rogers was inspired by his own tableaux of scenes from popular plays to try a novel variation on a tried-and-true theme. In particular, he might have been thinking of his other creation from that year, Fighting Bob. That sculpture depicted the famous actor Joseph Jefferson playing a character from the acclaimed production The Rivals, which was set in mid-eighteenth-century England. Whatever his reasons, Chess showcases Rogers' ability to create a complex scene with remarkable realism. The game pieces were rendered in pewter so their details would remain crisp, and the delicate stream of liquid pouring from the young maid's pot illustrates Rogers' meticulous efforts to arrest time. However, it lacks the immediacy evoked by his earlier group of contemporary Americans. Without the energy of the humorous opposition between rural and urban that underlies Checkers Up at the Farm, Chess must be admired for its technical merits, but its message of youth triumphing over age has a hollow ring. It might reflect Rogers' stark view of his own prospects as his business began to slow in the face of new artistic fashions toward the end of his career.
Bibliography: 
Articles, Scrapbooks of miscellaneous clippings, etc. about John Rogers, Vol. 1, New York Historical Society. Barck, Dorothy, "Rogers Group in the Museum of the New-York Historical Society", New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, October, 1932, p. 74. Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Chetwood, Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1934, pp.98-9. Wallace, David H., John Rogers, The People's Sculptor, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967, pp. 263, 295, 297. Holzer, Harold, and Farber, Joseph, "The Sculpture of John Rogers," Antiques Magazine, April 1970, pp. 756-768. Bleier, Paul and Meta, John Rogers Statuary, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, pp. 210-1.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1889
eMuseum Object ID: 
133
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

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