Bessie Onahotema Potter (Keyes) Vonnoh
(1872 - 1955)
Bessie Onahotema Potter (Keyes) Vonnoh was active/lived in New York, Connecticut, Missouri. Bessie Vonnoh is known for female figure sculpture-statuettes, painting.
Bessie Onahotema Potter (Keyes) Vonnoh
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Biography from the Archives of askART
A sculptor known for her depictions of graceful, serene, female figures
with gently sweeping garments, Bessie Vonnoh became one of the female
assistant's to Lorado Taft with a group nicknamed the "White
Rabbits*." They assisted him with large-scale pieces at the 1893
Chicago World's Fair Exhibition*.
Biography from Rago Arts and Auction
Vonnoh was born in St. Louis,
Missouri and moved with her family to Chicago where at age twenty one,
she enrolled in Taft's sculpture class at the Art Institute of Chicago*. At
the World's Fair, she was much influenced by the small bronze figures
of Russian sculptor Paul Troubetzkoy, and after the Fair, she began
doing her own small bronze figures, which became very popular.
Encouraged by Taft, she went to Paris in 1895, and on her return, sculpted her much sought after work, The Young Mother, which was exhibited in 1976 as part of the Whitney Museum's Bicentennial sculpture show.
1899, she married painter Robert Vonnoh, and they lived in New York
City and Old Lyme, Connecticut. She continued to sculpt, and in
1913 had a one-woman show at the Brooklyn Museum. In the 1920s,
she began life-size work including a portrait of James Sherman that is
in the United States Capitol building. In 1921, she was elected
an Academician of the National Academy of Design. She died at age
American Women Artists by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see
Bessie Onahotema Potter Vonnoh (1872-1955)
Biography from The Parrish House Museum
A Missouri-born sculptor, she was one of the most successful women artists of her generation. Vonnoh studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under Lorado Taft and worked as his assistant. Inspired by the statuettes of Paul Troubetzkoy, she began sculpting small figures in bronze. These sculptures, particularly those of mothers and children, became quite popular; her work was frequently compared to that of painter Mary Cassatt. Vonnah also achieved success as a sculptor of fountains and works for the garden.
After her marriage to painter Robert Vonnoh in 1899, the couple moved to New York, where they established a joint studio. They also maintained a summer home in the art colony of Lyme, Connecticut. Vonnoh exhibited widely throughout her career. She was elected a Member of the National Sculpture Society and an Academician of the National Academy.
Her work is in the collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum in New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Denver Art Museum; the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
Her public commissions are installed in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, Balboa Park in San Diego and Central Park in New York.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Bessie Vonnoh studied at the Art Institute of
Chicago under Lorado Taft. She met Augustus Saint-Gaudens in his studio
in New York and Rodin in his studio in Paris. She married artist
Robert Vonnoh in 1899, only because he was willing to wait for her until
she completed a major commission: a portrait of artist Maude Adams
(famous as Peter Pan) for the 1900 Paris Exposition. Their
marriage was one of the few where both artists succeeded due to mutual
respect and encouragement for each other's work and careers.
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was admitted to the National Sculpture Society in 1899, and had a solo
exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1913. Her figure studies of
mothers and children rival Mary Cassatt's work of the same genre.
She was the first woman sculptor to become a permanent member of the
National Academy of Design.
Her work is in the collection of
several museum in many countries including the Metropolitan Museum of
Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Carnegie
Institute, the Corcoran Galleries of Art, the Philadelphia Academy, the
Newark Museum, the Cincinnati Museum, the Detroit Institute Museum, the
Roosevelt Memorial in Oyster Bay NY and the Central Park Memorial, also
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