Robert Ingersoll Aitken (1878 - 1949)
Mother and Child, n.d.
Height: 3 1/8 inches
Signed and copyrighted at base: AITKEN ©
Robert Ingersoll Aitken was a noted sculptor in the classical tradition. Born in San Francisco, California, Aitken first studied painting with Arthur Mathews and Douglas Tilden at the Mark Hopkins Institute. He established his own studio and had his first exhibition when he was 18. In 1897, Aitken studied briefly in Paris, where he became interested in sculpting. Upon returning to San Francisco, Aitken began receiving important sculpture commissions, though he went back to Paris for three years in 1904.
Aitken eventually established his studio in New York City, and became an influential teacher at the National Academy of Design. He exhibited frequently at the National Academy of Design, as well as at the famed Armory Show of 1913 in New York City. He received a silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, among other exhibition venues. He was given major portrait commissions as well as public sculpture commissions and designed a $50 coin in 1915.
Sculptures by Aitken can be found at major museums, including the Boston Museum of the Fine Arts, the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, the National Academy of Design Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.