Louise Lawson was one of the first professional women sculptors in America, dividing her time between New York and Europe. She maintained a high-profile presence in New York’s art scene, crystallized in an 1887 interview with the New York Times. This offers a fascinating window onto the life of a professional sculptor of the 19th century, detailing problems Lawson encountered shipping a large work from Italy to the United States (see link below).
Pictured is Lawson’s 1891 statue of Congressman Samuel Sullivan Cox, commemorating his efforts on behalf of postal workers. Approximately 2,500 letter carriers came from as far away as New Orleans and Memphis to participate in the unveiling. The New York Tribune noted that Cox’s “usually genial countenance is strained” and “out of harmony” with the Congressman’s natural demeanor. “The likeness is not a good one, and the facial resemblance is hardly suggestive.” This monument-bashing by a newspaper was not uncommon.
The sculpture originally stood near Cox’s home on East 12th Street. In November 1924, due to a street-widening project, it was moved to its current location at the southwest corner of Tompkins Square Park.