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 Sally James Farnham  (1869 - 1943)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: portrait sculpture, western painting; medalist

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Ad Code: 3
Sally James Farnham
from Auction House Records.
Will Rogers on His Pony
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A sculptor in the tradition of Frederic Remington, Sally Farnham had studios in New York City and Great Neck, New York. She did numerous statuettes, portrait busts of prominent persons, and friezes as well as western works which she began in 1905.

In her childhood in her birthplace of Ogdensburg, New York she became a skilled rider and hunter and was particularly interested in horse anatomy. Her parents took her to Europe several times, and she became much interested in sculpture from seeing museums there.

But she did not develop this interest until after her marriage in 1896 to Paulding Farnham, who was a painter and designer for Tiffany's. While recovering from an illness, Farnham began experimenting with plasticine, a synthetic modeling material given to her by her husband.  Her first work, a model of a Spanish Dancer, was the subject of both ridicule and encouragement by her friend Frederic Remington who called it "all-fired ugly," but he also said the work had a lot of vitality.

Soon she opened a studio, and was filling commissions while raising three children. Her most noted work is the equestrian statue of Simon Bolivar for Central Park in New York City. This sculpture earned her special recognition from the government of Venezuela, which awarded her the "Order of the Bust of Bolivar".  She also did a monument of Father Junipero Serra (1925) for the San Fernando Mission in Los Angeles, and in 1938, an equestrian statue of Will Rogers.

In 1905, she took a trip to a ranch in British Columbia, and was inspired to create a number of action-cowboy statuettes with titles such as Scratchin' 'im, Going To Town, and Horse and Rider.

Basically self taught, she looked to Frederic Remington as her mentor, and is best known for her portraits that were good character studies.

"Phil Kovinick and Marain Yoshiki-Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Michael Reed, The Sally James Farnham Catalogue Raisonne Project, 3 Church Street in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Sculpture Review, Spring 2005, "Museum Collections" by Julianne Crane
The Quarterly of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association, Summer 1991, "Sally James Farnham: The Remington Years" by George F. McFarland

The Art of Being an Artist: Sally James Farnham, American Sculptor by Peter H. Hassrick, 2005, 71 pages, B/W illustrations, no color repro.

R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana
William Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole Wyoming
The Organization of American States (formerly the Pan-American Union), Washington, D.C.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Sally Farnham is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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