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The Ethiopian

1912 Arthur Lee Born: Trondheim, Norway 1881 Died: Newtown, Connecticut 1961 Gorham Manufacturing Company (Founder) bronze overall: 27 7/8 x 11 3/4 x 10 1/8 in. (70.9 x 29.9 x 25.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase made possible by William T. Evans, William Franklin Paris, and Helen L. Spear 1990.30 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, South Wing

Luce Center Label

Arthur Lee was fascinated with the nude human body, and only created one statue that included clothing. The Ethiopian was exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show in New York and also at San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, where it won a gold medal. Jack Johnson, the first African American to win the world heavyweight boxing championship, is thought to have been the model for this piece. The figure stands in an almost defiant pose, its obvious energy and strength conveying Lee’s ideal of a “living form.”


Ethnic - African - Ethiopian

Figure male - full length

Figure male - nude


metal - bronze