Davida by Karen Ingalls
It is always so wonderful for me to ‘discover’ a book that has a special meaning to me. Karen Ingall’s Davida is one of those serendipitous finds that makes a booklover believe in miracles. I’ve been upset over the past few years at the destruction of sculptures– in Pakistan, Iraq, Ukraine, and especially in America. I was particularly furious that during the Boston Common riot of 2020 Augustus Saint-Gauden’s masterpiece, the Shaw Memorial, was attacked by the mob. It is a magnificent work that celebrates the young Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and his regiment of African-American volunteers.
The most famous American sculptor during the Beaux Arts period, Saint-Gaudens worked in both New York and Paris. I tried copying his work when I took sculpting classes, and often walked down the streets in Paris where he lived and had his studio.
This book about Davida was written by her Great Granddaughter. It fills in some of the gaps about my knowledge my favorite sculptor and the beautiful Swedish young woman who became is model and mistress. Although they had a child together, the affair and out-of-wedlock birth of their son was kept quiet. This book was tells the story of a love affair that lasted over twenty years, and about the toll it played it took Davida’s family. Enjoy my interview with Karen Ingalls.
(You can see in the photo below that Karen is beautiful and has her Great-Grandmother’s cheekbones.)
ABOUT THE BOOK
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was America’s premier sculptor from 1880 to 1920. Though married he fell in love with his model, Davida Johnson Clark and their love affair lasted over twenty-five years. This biography will introduce the reader to the sculptor’s great art, historical facts, and the moral values of that era.
The author is the great-granddaughter from this union and her purpose in writing the book is to bring recognition to Davida and remove any negative stigma to her. Her grandfather suffered his whole life from being labeled a bastard while growing up and the author intends to remove that label.
How can a love affair last for such a long time? What effect did it have on his career? How did his wife and their son cope with their being a second family? This is a compelling and beautiful love story that has needed to be told.
Listen to PatZi's Interview
with Karen Ingalls
March 9, 2023
Visit Karen’s website to find out more about her n . Find out more about her books and read her blog,