- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First edition (March 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781530397877
- ISBN-13: 978-1530397877
- ASIN: 1530397871
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,200,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens Paperback – March 5, 2016
From the Author
This book required a considerable amount of research, which was possible due to extensive papers, books, and authorities on the subject of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. There are only three factual pieces of information about Davida: her birth first name, her name as a model, and that she was born in Sweden. Therefore I was able to use my imagination and create Davida.
From the Back Cover
Davida is the story of unconditional love between Albertina Hultgren (aka Davida Johnson Clark) and renowned American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It was a forbidden love that survived twenty-five years, until his untimely death. She was the ethereal woman; he was strength and exuberance.
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In love triangles like this, the people that suffer most, are the children. Living in the shadows of others, leave those living in the shadow with bitterness, and sometimes, hate. Louis, the child born out of this triangle, suffered all his life from hiding the true state of his birth. His reaction, in the end was his attempt in wiping all the residue of that birth, that was, not only suppressive, but considered illegitimate by the society. He wiped his past in an effort to becoming himself, a new person, with no links to that past.
It is easy to judge Albertina, and also Gus in situations like this, but, as I already said, things like this happen all the time. Man is a polygamous animal. Only a few men can curb that urge. Davida is a well written, intimate, but sad love story.
While this is a fictionalized account from the viewpoint of Saint-Gaudens's mistress, Davida Johnson Clark, it nonetheless told a touching story backed up by a tremendous amount of research that made it come alive. The author is entirely honest in the back of the book regarding what was fictionalized. As someone who has done genealogy research, I can say that it is very possible to feel as if you know someone from your past, whether it's through genetic memory or perhaps spiritually channeling the individual. While there is a fair amount of speculation given that documentation as well as various records could not be found, nonetheless the story has the feasibility required to establish its credibility.
Songs and poetry galore have been written expressing the irony of forbidden love. It has always been part of the human condition and probably always will be. Sundry times and cultures have been more tolerant than others, and I found it ironic that Augustus Saint-Gaudens was half French; had this relationship occurred there, perhaps it would have been less of a scandal than it was in America. Nonetheless, he and Davida were as discreet as possible, though the situation was undoubtedly excruciating for them both, their son growing up with a stigma that affected his entire life.
This is not a particularly unique situation as many have discovered personally. Finding your soul mate is seldom a painless experience. If you haven't done so personally, you can get a glimpse of what it might be like from this well-written story.
This story is beautifully written and captivated me from start to finish. I can’t say I like Augustus at all. He seemed very emotionally selfish and inconsiderate but financially extravagant. Albertina on the other hand, I really liked. She was a strong woman but I question her taste in men. However, the story takes place soon after the civil war in the U.S. and the country was a very different place then. Part of the beauty in the writing is the feelings the story invoked in me. Only the most talented writers can do that.
I also enjoyed the scenes where Davida went into the forest where she believed Swedish fairies came to her and helped guide her on her path. I would like to have known her.