- Edmonia Lewis (American, 1844–1907)
- Made in Rome, Italy
- 13 3/4 × 7 3/4 × 5 1/2 in. (34.9 × 19.7 × 14 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Morris K. Jesup and Friends of the American Wing Funds, 2015
- Accession Number:
Like many American sculptors of the nineteenth century, Lewis, an artist of African-American and Chippewa (Ojibwa) ancestry, worked in Rome. Her multiracial identity and her gender were formative in her selection of subjects. In addition to pieces addressing abolition and emancipation, between 1866 and 1872 she completed a series of marble sculptures on the popular theme of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, drawn from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem “The Song of Hiawatha” (1855). These cabinet-sized busts (2015.287.1, 2015.287.2) represent the star-crossed lovers from once-warring nations (Ojibwa and Dakota) and blend an idealized treatment of form with Native dress and accessories.