Gail Sherman Corbett (1871–1952)
Although primarily known for her sculptural works, Gail Sherman Corbett was a well-rounded artist who also painted lavish portrayals of sophisticated Parisian boulevards and renowned New York landmarks. Corbett was born and raised in Syracuse, New York before studying art at the Art Students League and, later, at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Notably, the artist was mentored by Augustus St.-Gaudens, who created poignant American Civil War monuments, such as the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Boston, and the gilded equestrian statue of William Tecumseh Sherman in New York’s Central Park. Corbett’s work followed in the footsteps of her teacher, yet she produced a unique vocabulary of forms that voiced her personal aesthetics. Examples of her sculptures – namely, the Hamilton S. White Memorial, Syracuse, and Constance Witherby Memorial, Providence, Rhode Island – demonstrate an artist concerned with the visual representation of elegance, grace, and strength.
After her study abroad, Corbett married architect Harvey Wiley Corbett and the couple settled in New York City. The sculptor continued her work, exhibiting works at venues including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and with the National Association of Women Artists. In addition, she was a third-place winner and noted contributor for a national competition organized to produce a commemorative statue of Abraham Lincoln. Today, many of Corbett’s work can be viewed at their original sites including outdoor parks in Syracuse, Providence, and the Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.