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 Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson  (1871 - 1932)

About: Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson
 

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: war memorial, commemorative figure and public sculpture

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Theo Alice Ruggles is primarily known as Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson

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Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson
An example of work by Theo Alice Ruggles
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Theo Kitson, also known as Tho. A. R. Kitson, specialized in robust war memorials, and regiments of her musket-ready bronze soldiers are among the over fifty public sculptures by her erected in various parts of the country.

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, Ruggles showed early art talent, but was refused for being too young for classes at the School of the Museum Fine Arts Boston.  So her mother, having been turned down by other art schools as well, took the suggestion of one of the Directors of a school denying admission and enrolled Theo with Henry Hudson Kitson. She began studies with him in 1886, and Theo also studied in Paris with the painter Pascal and the sculptor Dagnan-Bouveret, and won honorable mentions at the Paris Exhibition of 1889, and the Paris Salon of 1890. In 1888, she won honorable mention at the Salon des Artistes Francais, (the youngest woman ever to receive the honor). She was lionized when she returned to the United States for this award and was asked to comment on everything from the state of American art to men's fashions.

In New York she married Henry Kitson in 1893 in a wedding, which was described as the "social event of the season." (Wikipedia) In 1895 she was the first woman to be admitted to the National Sculpture Society. In 1895 she was the first woman to be admitted to the National Sculpture Society. 

The Kitsons moved to Framingham, Massachusetts, maintaining studios in Boston, and creating many public monuments both in partnership with each other and separately. However in 1909 the couple separated.

Among her works are The Volunteer, a Civil War monument of 1902; a statue of Tadeusz Kosciusco, the Polish patriot and American Revolutionary soldier, in Boston Public Gardens; equestrian Victory at Hingham, Massachusetts; and The Hiker (erected n 1965), in honor of Spanish-American War Veterans near the gates to the Arlington National Cemetery. She also made scores of busts for the battlefield at Vicksburg.

Lorado Taft praised her Volunteer, applauding the power and strength of the work, but then added (in a remark that reveals more about him than about her), "One is almost compelled to qualify the somewhat sweeping assertion that no woman has, as yet, modeled the male figure to look like a man."

Kitson's bronzes are known to be self-confident, filled with patriotic idealism in the realistic style of her time.

Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. She was one of four female painters or sculptors who exhibited more than three works of art, including: A New England Fisherman (1892); On the Banks of the Oise (1889); Portrait Bust of an Italian Child (ca. 1887); and Young Orpheus (ca. 1890).

Additionally, she won a bronze medal at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

Sources:
Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists
"Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson", Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_Alice_Ruggles_Kitson (Accessed 12/09/2013)


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