Today we are going to be learning about Edmonia Lewis – the first professional African American sculptor. If you saw the Google Doodle on February 1st you would have seen Edmonia Lewis.
Lewis was born to a free African American father and a Chippewa Indian mother. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio, but was kicked out after being accused of poisoning several of her white female schoolmasters. (All of the claims were unsubstantiated.)
Soon after she moved to Boston and did busts of white abolitionists. In 1865 she traveled to Europe where she settled down in Rome. Rome was a good place for Lewis because she had access to incredible marble. She became famous for her neo-classical style of sculpture.
My personal favorite sculpture is The Old Arrow Maker which lives at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Learn more about Edmonia Lewis below:
- The Toast
- Amazing Women In History
- Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject
- Google Arts and Culture
- Stewart, J. C. (1996). 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African-American History. New York: Doubleday. Pages 256-257.