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ebrowne's picture


Gamin, the most popular work made by the great Augusta Savage, has two possible models and for the life of researcher they cannot figure out which one it is.

One possible model is her little nephew who moved into Savage’s three bedroom apartment with her after their family’s home in Florida was destroyed by a hurricane and the other potential is a random little boy off of the street. You guess is as good as mine.

Whoever the model was, the piece still helped Savage win a fellowship to study in Paris in 1929. She enrolled at the oh so bourgey Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse, Paris. While attending the school, she won awards at two Salons and toured around Belgium, Germany and of course, the rest of France. All because of a sculpture of a little boy in Harlem, New York, that wasn’t even a real bronze because Savage could only afford to sculpt out of plaster and then paint it to make it look like a bronze. But it earned her a fellowship abroad so you could say she got her money’s worth.

70 years later an unsuspecting Cleveland "Antiques Roadshow" 2002 attendee got her money’s worth as well. Somehow Gamin ended up in some old lady’s attic and the roadshow attendee saved it. She then decided to see how much she could sell it for and found out that it would be worth $15,000 to $20,000 maybe more. It’s now safe from all old lady’s attics at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and remains one of Savage’s best works.




  1. "Artworks Search Results / American Art". Web. 30 May 2017.
  2. APPRAISAL: 1929 AUGUSTA SAVAGE “GAMIN” SCULPTURE. Cleveland: Lakeshore Public Media, 2015. Video.
  3. Warkel, Harriet. "IMA Curator, Harriet Warkel Introduces Gamin By Augusta Savage | Indianapolis Museum Of Art Blog". N.p., 2008. Web. 30 May 2017.