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Edmonia Lewis

Born: New York, 1845
Died: , 1907
Nationality: American

daughter of a Chippewa mother and African-American father; orphaned and
raised by mother’s family


with sculptors Edward Brackett and Anne Whitney (1863, Boston)


1860 – enters Young Ladies Preparatory Department at Oberlin College

1863 –falsely accused of poisoning two classmates; she is acquitted, but not permitted to graduate; moves to Boston with support of William Lloyd Garrison

1864 – Lewis’s medallion of John Browne and bust of Colonel Robert Shaw are exhibited at the Soldiers’ Relief Fair in Boston; over 100 plaster copies of Colonel Robert Shaw sold

1865 – joins group of women sculptors working in Rome, Italy including Harriet Hosmer and Emma Stebbins; Lewis lives in Rome throughout the 1860s and 1870s (and rents Canova's former studio)

1872 - Asleep wins gold medal at National Exposition of Paintings and Sculpture in Naples, Italy

1873 – exhibits at the San Francisco Art Association

1876 – exhibits Death of Cleopatra and other sculptures at Philadelphia Centennial Exposition

1893 - exhibits Hiawatha and other sculptures at World's COllumbian Exposition (Chicago)

1896 - moves to Paris

1901 - moves to London


Rome (1865-1870s); US (many venues, 1869-74); New York (1898)

Important Artworks: 

Hagar, 1875 (National Museum of American Art, Washington,DC)

Death of Cleopatra, 1876 (National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC)