Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis, an American sculptor who made her career in Italy, brought a new, naturalistic approach to the neoclassical tradition. Her works were infused with both personal relevance and timely human rights issues. At the height of her fame in the late 1860s and 1870s, she captivated both Europeans and Americans. Her sculptures were exhibited from Boston to Chicago to San Francisco as well as in her studio in Rome. Truly, the phrase "lost and found" applies equally to the history of Edmonia Lewis and of her masterpiece, The Death of Cleopatra, carved in 1876.


Edmonia Lewis ca.1870s
Henry Rocher
Reproduction from original 3 5/8" x 2 1/16" albumen silver print
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution