John Rogers (1829-1904) is arguably the most popular American sculptor ever, selling over 80,000 small plasters, known as 'Rogers Groups' over the course of a career that spanned the late nineteenth century. Rogers created arresting and memorable subjects drawn from the American experience, including the Civil War, domestic life, and theatrical scenes from Shakespeare and Washington Irving. Rogers said, 'I want each group to tell a story', and these narrative sculptures carried on a deeply rooted popular American genre tradition that was established in the antebellum period by painters such as William Sidney Mount and George Caleb Bingham. The catalogue, which is generously illustrated and contains eleven essays on different aspects of his work (including its Neoclassical elements influences and the mass market it found), aims to bring Rogers' work to life for a new generation of admirers.
Kimberly Orcutt is associate curator of American Art at the New-York Historical Society