White marble seems to dissolve into rippling wet fabric as the water nymph Undine changes from liquid to human form. Abandoned by her husband, the heartbroken nymph is seeking revenge: an embrace that will drown him with tears. Magical episodes like Undine’s metamorphosis—made famous by an 1811 German fairy tale—gave Chauncey Ives and other American sculptors valuable opportunities to show off their skills in illusionistic stone carving. Notice in particular the suggestions of Undine’s body beneath her gown and the nearly transparent veil above her head.



  • Title: Undine Rising from the Fountain
  • Creator: Chauncey Bradley Ives
  • Date Created: modeled 1880-1882
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Provenance: James H. Ricau, Piermont, N.Y., ca. 1985; Gift of James H. Ricau and Chrysler Museum Purchase, 1986.
  • Credit Line: Gift of James H. Ricau and Museum purchase
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Medium: Marble

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