Monthly Archives: January 2011

Edmonia Lewis Discovery

Cultural historian, Marilyn Richardson has solved one of the persistent mysteries of American art history: where and when did the sculptor Edmonia Lewis die? The answer is, London, England, on 17 September 1907. According to British records, Lewis, whose full name was Mary Edmonia Lewis, had been living in the Hammersmith area of London and died in the Hammersmith Borough Infirmary. She left a modest financial estate.
Beginning with publications from the late 19th-century, the date of her death has been given as anywhere between 1895 and 1911 with no supporting primary evidence. Although she was a prolific and successful artist, Edmonia Lewis maintained an aura of mystery throughout her career with varying stories about her origins as the daughter of a woman of Ojibway descent and a black father from the West Indies.
Richardson has published widely on Lewis and has written catalogue essays on her work for Sotheby’s and other auction houses. Recent sales of her sculpture from the 1860s have fetched record prices of $250,000 and above.
Now that Edmonia Lewis’s death is documented, Richardson says, the search is still on for official birth records to confirm Lewis’s claim that she was born in upstate New York. Proof of her birthplace and date have so far eluded determined scholars and researchers.

Reprinted with permission of Marilyn Richardson.


New Sculpture

A few months ago (well, probably more than a year ago) I wrote about making a mold on this life size piece, titled “Seep.”

Here is the finished sculpture in its second state. Since I make my own molds and do my own casting, for the most part, I can take advantage of the vagaries of the mold making process. I often include armature elements, mold flashing, and purposefully create casting anomalies. For this cast, I used layers of different waxes, items cast in plastic and resins from found objects in my studio, and backed up these layers with hydrocal.

I used several models for the original clay. Individual portraiture does not really interest me, and in using more than one model I can move away from the specifics of verisimilitude into a more general realm of symbol.

Gwen Lux

He is the Night (Kamehameha)

Gwen Lux (1908-1987) was born in Chicago, and at age 14 began studying art with Mary Chase Perry Stratton at Pewabic Pottery. She later attended both the Maryland Institute College of Art and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Lux most often worked in clay, and cast her work in many materials including concrete, plastic resins and metals. She taught sculpture at the Arts & Crafts Society of Detroit and also received numerous commissions during her lifetime. She created sculpture for Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the McGraw-Hill Building in Chicago, and the General Motors Technical Center in Detroit. The Detroit Institute of Arts, the Hawaii State Art Museum, the Kresge Art Museum (Michigan State University, East Lansing) and the Mariners’ Museum (Newport News, Virginia) are among the public collections holding her work. In 1933 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Lux lived and worked in Detroit, Michigan in the early part of her career, and then moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1973. She continued to live in Hawaii until her death.

Her first marriage was to fellow sculptor Eugene Lux, and in 1959 she married Thomas Creighton, longtime editor of Progressive Architecture magazine. In 1986 Lux remarried, to her longtime friend and companion Jerome R. Wallace, a well-known artist who created batiks using natural dyes found in the local environment on Kauai.

Pictured is He is the Night (Kamehameha), at the Hawaii Sate Art Museum in Honoulu.

Juley Archive

The Peter A. Juley & Son Collection is comprised of 127,000 black-and-white photographic negatives documenting the works of more than 11,000 American artists. Throughout its long history, from 1896 to 1975, the Juley firm served as the largest and most respected fine arts photography firm in New York. The Juley Collection, acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1975, constitutes a unique visual record of American art, sometimes providing the only photographic documentation of altered, damaged, or lost works. Included in the collection are over 4,700 photographic portraits of artists.

The archive is an invaluable resource for photographs of women sculptors of the Art Deco period. Many are shown with work in progress, like this image of Gwen Lux in her studio.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 13 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 66 posts. There were 16 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 25th with 72 views. The most popular post that day was Dorothea Greenbaum.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for malvina hoffman, daisy youngblood, mary frank artist, mary frank sculpture, and mary frank.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Dorothea Greenbaum April 2010


Mary Frank November 2009


Marjorie Daingerfield August 2009


Malvina Hoffman April 2009


Kiki Smith at MacDowell Colony August 2009