28.10 Woman of Samaria (1859-1861)
William Henry Rinehart (American, 1825-1864)
Collection of The Walters Art Museum
William Walters commissioned The Woman of Samaria from William Henry Rinehart in 1859, which the artist completed in 1861. Rinehart primarily worked in a neoclassical style while being influenced by emerging trends of naturalism. For this work he sculpts the Samarian woman who, as told in the Gospel of St. John, gives Jesus a drink of water, and after speaking with him realizes that he is the Messiah. A second life-size marble of the same subject was commissioned by Governor Edward D. Morgan of New York, was completed in 1871. Interestedly, while researching this work, I came across the website of the Caldwell Gallery art dealers, where it appears this second commissioned sculpture is available for purchase.
To ready this life-size sculpture ready for exhibition From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story, the surface needed to be cleaned of light to moderate surface dust and grime. This treatment protocol was designed by Ariel O’Connor and Meg Craft prior to my arrival at The Walters. I took the lead role in the treatment, carrying out Ariel and Meg’s protocol, while being assisted by Ariel and Terry Drayman-Weisser.
The sculpture was moved from her temporary storage space (and temporary conservation lab) to the 4th floor. Unfortunately during this operation her proper right hand was bumped and an old repair failed at the join line of her index finger. Once cleaning treatment was completed, and with one week until the opening gala, I reversed the previous repair, then repaired the finger - nothing to it!