Edmonia Lewis



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.

For further information on Lewis:





4 responses to “Edmonia Lewis

  1. artandhistory

    Always good to see a mention of Lewis. I especially like your “neglect and resurrection” phrase.
    – Marilyn Richardson

  2. Did I reply to this ? If not, sorry for such a late response. I do have posted on my blog an essay I wrote for a Sotheby’s catalogue last May about a Lewis sculpture – – it fetched a record price (not for me, of course, sigh.)

    There is also a thing-y off to the side (I really know my blogspeak) that links to a longer paper I gave in Florence almost a year ago.

    • Marilyln, it is wonderful to make your acquaintance here in the blogosphere. You are an inspiration. I will try to spend as much of the day as I can reading your blog and essays (not sure how to operate all of these link-thingies myself, but am learning). Hope to visit the Lewis sculpture of Hygeia at Mt. Auburn this fall and post some photos here.

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