Book ID: 28980 Contemporary white marble bas-relief portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Boston sculptor Joseph Carew. RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Joseph Carew, Sculptor.
Contemporary white marble bas-relief portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Boston sculptor Joseph Carew.
Contemporary white marble bas-relief portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Boston sculptor Joseph Carew.
Contemporary white marble bas-relief portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Boston sculptor Joseph Carew.
Contemporary white marble bas-relief portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Boston sculptor Joseph Carew.
Contemporary white marble bas-relief portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Boston sculptor Joseph Carew.

A Fine Contemporary Bas-Relief of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Contemporary white marble bas-relief portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Boston sculptor Joseph Carew.

Place and Imprint: [Boston], 1857.
Bibliographical References: Myerson and Wilson, Picturing Emerson: An Iconography, Appendix A.
Condition: A few minor restorations of the edges and brown spots; a skillfully executed replacement marble base; in very good condition.
Book ID: 28980

Physical Description

Oval, 20.5 x 15 inches, signed and dated on the edge “J. Carew SC, 1857.” A fine bas-relief portrait in marble of Ralph Waldo Emerson, sculpted the year he voiced his support for the abolitionist cause.

Comments

Joseph Carew was active between 1840-1870 and worked in partnership with his brother Thomas Carew in the firm Carew & Brothers, Sculptors, at 143 Harrison Avenue, Boston, near the Common. His sculptures were exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum on at least three occasions: 1853, 1859 and 1860. There is no evidence to link Emerson with Joseph Carew, and Emerson scholars Joel Myerson and Leslie Perrin Wilson in their monograph Picturing Emerson: An Iconography (Houghton Library, 2016), record this portrait under Appendix A, Apocryphal Images of Emerson, with the following note: “Joseph Carew was a Boston sculptor and monument maker who frequently exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum and executed commissions at Mount Auburn Cemetery. . . . There are no references to Carew in Emerson’s letters and journals. Carew may have made this idealistic classical image of Emerson from sketches done when seeing him in downtown Boston or lecturing, or he may have worked from a contemporary engraving.” Because of the lack of documentation connecting Emerson and Carew, Myerson and Wilson are understandably doubtful that this image was sculpted during a studio sitting by Emerson (i.e., from life) – a prerequisite for inclusion in the primary catalog of their work. But they do not question that it is a portrait of Emerson or that it was made during his lifetime. The date of 1857 clearly attests to that and distinguishes this image from many other portraits of Emerson by the fact that it is dated. They state: “Very few images of Emerson are dated on photographs or their card mounts, on sketches or paintings or on plaster or marble busts.” They also note that though Emerson was a meticulous diarist, he rarely described sitting for a portrait of any kind. Additionally, Joel Myerson saw this bas-relief many times on his visits to the Brick Row Book Shop, during which he never cast doubts about its authenticity or that it was an image of Emerson. In fact, he expressed great admiration for it as a work of art and an unusual portrait of one of the great men of 19th century American literature and Transcendentalism.

Price: $8,000.00