Bessie Potter Vonnoh (1872-1955) was a St. Louis native who studied in Chicago with sculptor Lorado Taft from the age of 15. She later assisted Taft in works he created for the World’s Columbian Exposition and received a separate commission for an eight-foot figure, “Art”, for the Illinois State Building at the fair. At the age of 22, she opened her own studio in Chicago.
Vonnoh developed themes of intimate mother-and-child groups, dancing girls, and elegant ladies. The sculptor herself called these groups “Potterines.” Vonnoh was noted for her portrait sculpture, and created a bust of Sherman for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 1910. She and her husband, the notable painter Robert Vonnoh, lived in New York City from 1901 and showed their work together there and across the country in a series of joint traveling exhibitions.