While a student in Paris in the late 1880s, Adams began a series of portrait busts of American women that would soon earn him wide critical acclaim. In a marked departure from the bland neoclassical style, his delicate modeling and sensitive use of ornament and costume gave an effect of softness and spontaneity and created a new ideal of feminine charm and beauty. In these busts, Adams experienced with polychromy, tinting plaster in soft tones, and using wood, marble, ivory, and metals in simple combinations.
Artist Herbert Adams, American, 1858-1945
Title
  • Portrait of a Young Lady
Date 1894
Medium polychromed marble with bronze mounts
Dimensions Including base: 28 1/4 × 16 1/2 × 9 3/4 inches (71.8 × 41.9 × 24.8 cm)
Overall (object): 18 1/4 × 16 1/2 × 9 3/4 inches (46.4 × 41.9 × 24.8 cm)
Overall (pedestal): 54 3/4 × 29 × 18 1/4 inches (139.1 × 73.7 × 46.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Beatrice W. Rogers Fund
Accession Number 1987.77
Department American Art before 1950
On View American W291, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed, on bronze mount: Work of Herbert Adams MDCCCXCIIII
1988-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts from the Beatrice W. Rogers Fund in 1987 (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Seventy-First Annual Exhibition. Exh. cat., Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Philadelphia, 1901, p. 72, no. 100 (ill.).

Caffin, Charles. American Masters of Sculpture. Garden City, NY, 1913, p. 105 (ill.).

Taft, Loredo. The History of American Sculpture. New York, 1924, p. 391.

Bulletin of the DIA 64, 2-3 (1988): p. 6 (fig. 4).

Tolles, Thayer. “’In a Class by Themselves’: Polychrome Portraits by Herbert Adams.” Perspectives on American Sculpture Before 1925. New York, 2001, pp. 64-81 (fig. 50).