Edmonia Lewis American
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 (2015.287.1) 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.