Edmonia Lewis American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 759

Like many American sculptors of the nineteenth century, Lewis, an artist of African American and Native American (Anishinaabe/Ojibwe) descent, worked in Rome, Italy. Her multiracial identity and gender were formative in her selection of subjects. Between 1866 and 1872, she completed a series of marble sculptures on the popular theme of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, drawn from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855). This cabinet-sized bust and its pendant (2015.287.2) represent the star-crossed lovers from once-warring nations (Anishinaabe and Dakota), and blend an idealized treatment of form with Native American dress and accessories.

Hiawatha, Edmonia Lewis (American, 1844–1907), Marble, American

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