Fine Art

"The Wave" 1910 Bronze Sculpture by Charles Cary Rumsey

Charles Cary Rumsey (1879-1922)

The Wave
c. 1910

bronze cast by Roman Bronze Works, N.Y.

39 ½ x 31 x 25 ½ inches

Collection of the estate of Mrs. Charles Cary (1922-2000)

Charles Cary Rumsey’s clear understanding of equine anatomy is attributed, in part, to his being a rider himself. In 1917 he served as Captain of the Cavalry and in the following year he led troops in France. He also became an important polo player, riding with Averell Harriman, Thomas Hitchcock, Seymour Knox, Devereaux Milburn, and Watson Webb. In 1922 Rumsey competed in preliminaries for the International Polo Cup as part of the U. S. team. He sculpted equestrian portraits of fellow team members, and he even created bronze portraits of famous race horses owned by Harry Payne Whitney, August Belmont, and Mary Harriman, whom he married in 1910. The Wave is a metaphoric work skillfully combining riders with powerful horses. The sculpture’s green patina came from years of weathering outdoors. 

During his lifetime, Charles Cary Rumsey's works were included in exhibits at major museums and at the Armory Show in NY in 1913, the exhibition credited with the first major introduction of modern art to America.

As an 8 goal polo player (10 is the highest ranking) and a Captain in the Calvary in 1917-1918 in France, he had a passion for horses which contributed to his recognized talent in sculpting animals and humans. 

He was committed to his art, serving a two year apprenticeship in Paris at age 14 studying with Paul Weyland Bartlett, one of the most prominent American sculptors abroad.

Rumsey returned to the US and won important public commissions with the architectural firm that built the New York Public Library and Manhattan Bridge. Meeting in 1909, he and Mary Harriman, (founder of The Junior League/ daughter of railroad magnate E.H. Harriman & sister to Amb/ Gov W. Averell Harriman) were married in 1910.

"The Wave" brings together three powerful horses and skillful riders in a struggle showing the power of the horses and the ability of the men to stay with them.

This monumental sculpture was gifted as a wedding present to our parents, Mr & Mrs Charles Cary in 1947 by the Rumsey family of Sands Point, Long Island, New York.

More recently, since 1987, it has been on long term loan/ exhibit at the Penney Burchfield Art Center in Buffalo, New York

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