Vonnoh received her training from the Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft and she was among a group of his female students who assisted in preparations for sculpture at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Soon thereafter, Vonnoh launched her professional career, exhibiting in Philadelphia and New York and visiting the French sculptor Auguste Rodin in Paris. In 1896 Vonnoh turned to what would become her best-known theme, tender portrayals of mothers and children in domestic settings. "A Young Mother," Vonnoh's most widely replicated statuette, synthesizes impressionistic handling of form with realistic emotion to produce one of the most sensitive studies of the mother-and-child theme in American sculpture. The maternal affection expressed as the new mother cradles her infant finds a counterpart in the paintings of Mary Cassatt.