William Dean Howells and Daughter

William Dean Howells and Daughter

When Edith Wharton was a young writer, William Dean Howells was the grand old man of American letters. As editor of Atlantic Monthly, he published one of Wharton's juvenile poems; he later praised her early writing and encouraged her to continue working. Howells was born in Ohio and largely self-educated. He was the leading proponent of literary realism, advocating truthful delineation of characters and their experience. In her autobiography, A Backward Glance, Wharton remembered how Howells had consoled her over the failure of The House of Mirth as a play: "Yes--what the American public always wants is a tragedy with a happy ending." Augustus Saint-Gaudens was one of the most distinguished American sculptors. He is best known for his masterful monuments, such as the Sherman Monument at New York's Grand Army Plaza. His bas-relief portraits are known for their subtle characterizations and sensitive modeling.

William Dean Howells, 1837-1920 with his daughter Mildred, 1872-1966
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907)
Bronze relief, 1898
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

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