Signed and dated on underside of base, scratched into plaster, in cursive: Augusta Savage / 1940; signed, vertically, in monogram on reverse: SAVAGE; inscribed, across front base: GAMIN
Gamin is the best-known work by Augusta Savage, the most admired and influential woman artist associated with the Harlem Renaissance and one of the first African American sculptors to portray African American physiognomy. The work also played a pivotal role in advancing Savage’s career, as its life-size version, modeled in 1929 (bronze, Schomburg Center, New York Public Library), won her a scholarship for study in Paris. Although this sculpture has invoked for viewers the ubiquitous street boys of Harlem, Savage actually modeled the work after her nephew and fellow Harlem resident Ellis Ford, who had earned the nickname “gamin” for his spirited, defiant nature. She sensitively modeled her subject in contemporary dress, with a jaunty but somewhat vulnerable expression that lends the work its poignancy. Upon her return to Harlem, the artist established the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts, which served as an important gathering place for black art students, established artists, and intellectuals, who met regularly to discuss artistic, political, and racial issues.
From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art
AAAS 91.1, ENGL 53.18, The Harlem Renaissance, J. Martin Favor, Winter 2015
AAAS 88.19, Contemporary African-American Artists, Michael Chaney, Summer 2021
Art History 63.02, Why Are Museums...?, Mary Coffey, Winter 2023
American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 9-December 9, 2007.
American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-September 12, 2021.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 2, 2009-present.
Barbara J. MacAdam, The Collections: New Acquisitions, Hood Museum of Art Quarterly, Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College, Spring 2007, p.14, ill.
Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 127, no. 100.
John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 159, ill. plate no. 90.
The artist; given to a friend, 1940; bequeathed to a private collection in the Midwest, 1976; given to a private collection [family member], 1987-2006; with Conner-Rosenkranz LLC, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2006.
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