Edmonia Lewis

Geralt Wolterbeek / Edmonia Lewis

Mary Edmonia Lewis (1845-1879):Mary Edmonia Lewis was the daughter of a Chipewa Indian mother and an African American father. She was educated at Oberlin College. Upon completion of her education, Lewis moved to Boston where she was, in Whitney Chadwick's words,cultivated by the white liberal community. Boston, however, offered no means for training sculptors:women were not permitted to attend anatomy demonstrations and those who aspired to study the human form were given pieces of sculture to copy on their own. Edmonia Lewis was no exception and as far as we know she received no formal training in what would become her forte. As an artist, Lewis insisted on separating her ethnicity from her art.In 1863 she requested that her work not be recognized simply because she was a colored girl. Her subjects were largely non-African Americans and after going to Rome in 1865, her sculptures reflected the influence of Neo-Classicism.
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