Bust of Harrison Gray Otis
Depicted as wise and august elder statesman, Harrison Gray Otis was over seventy years old when this bust was created.
Shobal Clevenger grew up on a farm not far from Cincinnati, Ohio. As a teenager he began working as a stone mason and in the late 1820s he moved to Cincinnati, where he worked with a stonecutter and met the sculptor Hiram Powers. Working in the neoclassical style, he captured the American political elite in the late 1830s travelling to Washington, New York, Boston, and other cities on the East Coast.
By the time he departed for Italy in 1840, no other American portrait sculptor was more highly esteemed. He settled in Florence, began translating his portrait busts into marble, and embarked on ideal figures. Suffering from tuberculosis, just three years after his arrival he sailed for home but died at sea off the coast of Gibraltar.
Shobal Vail Clevenger (1812-1843), sculptor