Chauncey Ives was one of the most popular American sculptors in the last half of the 19th century who worked in the neoclassical style (a style based on the classical works of ancient Greece and Rome). Ives began his career by first sculpting portrait busts and by age thirty he moved to Boston where he was a notable portrait sculptor. After moving to New York where he exhibited at the National Academy of Design, he fell ill and traveled to Florence, Italy for his health. There he met other American sculptors such as Horatio Greenough and Hiram Powers, arguably the most famous American neoclassical sculptor. Exposure to Florence's art treasures encouraged Ives to experiment with classical subjects while continuing to produce portraits. In 1851, Ives moved to Rome where the classical influences of the city were reflected in the idealism of his sculpture. His works continued to be popular in the United States and often he would make several copies of the same work. For instance, Undine, a work held in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, was one of his more popular works and over ten copies were made.
Later in his career, Ives was commissioned by Connecticut for two of the state's submissions to the United States Capitol National Statuary Hall Collection: Jonathan Trumbull and Roger Sherman. Through the latter part of his career his studio continued to create replicas while he sculpted portrait busts. He died in Rome in 1894.
Although no longer as famous as some of his peers, Ives's works can be found in many art museums, the U.S. Capitol, parks, and college campuses.—Doug Litts