An African American and Native American neoclassical sculptor, Edmonia Lewis (c.1845-1911) attended Oberlin College and worked primarily in Rome, as became the convention for many women sculptors of her day. The Civil War proved a major source of inspiration, and Lewis sculpted portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Robert Gould Shaw, and Ulysses S. Grant, among other commissions. Her most famous work is probably the marble “Death of Cleopatra”, recently restored after languishing in a Chicago wrecker’s yard. “The Death of Cleopatra” is a case study in the history of neglect and resurrection (http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=33878) and it now resides in the Smithsonian.
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