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 Margaret F. Foley  (1820 - 1877)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Vermont / Italy      Known for: cameo, medallion portraits, direct carving

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Ad Code: 3
Margaret F Foley
from Auction House Records.
Portraitrelief im Profil.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Margaret Foley was a self-taught sculptor-prodigy from rural Vermont, who worked her way up to a distinguished career in Rome. She began to whittle and carve as a young girl growing up in the quiet country town of Vergennes. After working in a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, she moved to Boston in 1848 and specialized in cameo portraits.

Foley emigrated to Rome in 1860 and expanded her oeuvre to larger marble medallion portraits of such noted sitters as poet William Cullen Bryant (1867), Amherst College). She also modeled portrait busts in the round (Theodore Parker (1867), and religious and ideal pieces (Jeremiah and Cleopatra). Foley won international recognition and received many commissions for the medallion portraits done in a crisply delineated, noble style. But a growing neurological illness was stalking her career.

Despite poor health, the energetic artist completed a major opus a marble fountain basin supported by three children, which branched out into lacy acanthus leaves at the top. This work was sent to the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition where it was placed in the horticulture section. Today it is in the new Horticulture Center, West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.

In 1877, Foley, ill and exhausted, left for her annual vacation in the Tyrol with her British author-friends, the Howitts. She died in Merano, to the sorrow of her colleagues in Rome.

(Information for the biography above is based on writings from the book, "American Women Artists", by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein.)

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