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Adams, Herbert Samuel (28 January 1858–21 May 1945), sculptor, was born in West Concord, Vermont, the son of Samuel Minot Adams, a machinist and patternmaker, and Nancy Ann Powers. Adams grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He studied at a technical school in Worcester and at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston before traveling to Paris, where he studied with Antonin Mercié at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1885 to 1890. In 1888 he made a bronze fountain for the town of Fitchburg that features two boys playing with turtles. In 1888–1889 his work won an honorable mention at a Paris exhibition....

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Barnard, George Grey (24 May 1863–24 April 1938), sculptor, was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph H. Barnard, a Presbyterian minister, and Martha Gray Grubbe. Before his seventeenth year, George had moved with his family first to Waukosha, Wisconsin, and later to Chicago and Kankakee, Illinois, and to Muscatine, Iowa. In 1880 Barnard entered the Chicago Academy of Design, the forerunner of the Chicago Art Institute. There he studied under academy founder ...

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Borglum, Gutzon (25 March 1867–06 March 1941), sculptor, was born near Great Bear Lake in Idaho Territory, the son of Jens Møller Haugaard Borglum, a Mormon-convert carpenter from Denmark, and Christina Mikkelsen (later Cristine Michelson). Jens also had another wife, Christina’s sister Ida. Christina was the mother both of the christened John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, and of a second son. Ida also had a son by Jens. After Christina withdrew from the troublesome plural marriage, Jens took Ida and their son to St. Louis, became a physician, and changed his name to James Miller Borglum, practicing medicine in Fremont, Nebraska. Eventually he and Ida had a total of seven children. Gutzon attended school in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1882, worked in a machine shop in Omaha, became an apprentice lithographer in Los Angeles in 1883, and studied painting. In 1888 he completed a portrait of ...

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Calder, A. Stirling (11 January 1870–06 January 1945), sculptor, was born Alexander Stirling Calder in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alexander Milne Calder, a stonecutter who became a sculptor, and Margaret Stirling. Natives of Scotland, Calder’s parents immigrated in 1868 to the United States, where the elder Calder found much success in Philadelphia, working on commemorative statues (he had worked on the Albert Memorial in London). As a boy Calder dreamed of a military career. After he was rejected by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, however, he turned his attention to art. In 1885 he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as his father had done, and studied under the realist painter and portraitist ...

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Calder, Alexander (22 July 1898–11 November 1976), sculptor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alexander Stirling Calder, a sculptor, and Nanette Lederer, a painter. Alexander “Sandy” Calder was the grandson of Alexander Milne Calder, who was known for his sculptural decoration of Philadelphia’s City Hall, completed in 1886. Both of his parents attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His father was chief of sculpture for the last great Beaux-Arts sculptural exhibition, the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915, and his mother continued to work as a portrait painter throughout her life....

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Brandon Brame Fortune

Davidson, Jo (30 March 1883–02 January 1952), sculptor, was born Joseph Davidson in New York City, the son of Jacob S. Davidson and Haya Getzoff, Russian Jewish immigrants. During his childhood Davidson lived in tenement housing on the Lower East Side. Through the combined industry of family members, the children were fed and educated. Davidson began to study art at the Art Students League, where he attended evening classes with ...

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Epstein, Jacob (10 November 1880–19 August 1959), sculptor, was born in New York City, the son of Max Epstein, a merchant, and Mary Solomon. He was raised by his Polish-Jewish immigrant parents on Hester Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Epstein became ill when he was around six years old, possibly with pleurisy, and was carried around for much of the next two years. During this period of childhood isolation, he read extensively and began to draw. The bustling street life of the Lower East Side was his natural subject matter. In the early 1890s Epstein won a Cooper Union art competition for a scholarship to the Art Students League, where he first registered in 1893. He attended sporadically for the next eight years....

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French, Daniel Chester (20 April 1850–07 October 1931), sculptor, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of Henry Flagg French, a lawyer, judge, and later assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and Anne Richardson. Henry French moved his law practice to Boston when Daniel was six years old, and the family settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Daniel’s mother had died some years before, and Henry French married Pamela M. Prentiss in 1859. The family moved to Concord, Massachusetts, shortly thereafter, establishing its long-time home....

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Grafly, Charles (03 December 1862–06 May 1929), sculptor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Grafly and Elizabeth Simmons, farmers and shopkeepers. In 1879, when Grafly completed his public schooling in Philadelphia, he apprenticed at Struther’s Stoneyard in Philadelphia. Two years later Grafly was placed in the public monument shop where he helped to carve ...

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Hoffman, Malvina (15 June 1885–10 July 1966), sculptor, was born Malvina Cornell Hoffman in New York City, the daughter of Richard Hoffman, a pianist, and Fidelia Marshall Lamson. Her early years were spent in a handsome brownstone on West 43d Street in New York City. Her father, born in England, was an internationally recognized pianist who first came to the United States as an accompanist to Jenny Lind, the Swedish soprano. Richard Hoffman’s home was filled with works of art and artists, inspiring his daughter’s interest in art....

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Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue (09 October 1830–21 February 1908), sculptor, was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, the daughter of Hiram Hosmer, a physician, and Sarah Grant. Sarah Hosmer died when her daughter was four years old. Hiram Hosmer raised Harriet, providing her with physical and intellectual training well beyond the limits imposed on most middle-class girls of the time. Hosmer grew up renowned in her community for fearlessness and unconventional behavior, especially in regard to outdoor sports involving riding and shooting....

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Huntington, Anna Vaughn Hyatt (10 March 1876–04 October 1973), sculptor and philanthropist, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the daughter of Alpheus Hyatt II, a professor of zoology and paleontology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Boston University, and Audella Beebe, an amateur landscape painter. She attended private schools in Cambridge, but at about age seventeen, she began to show an interest in sculpture. This was encouraged by her family, especially by her older sister, Harriet R. Hyatt, who began sculpting in the 1880s. Anna may have accompanied her sister to the Cowles School in Boston to study drawing with ...

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Lachaise, Gaston (19 March 1882–17 October 1935), sculptor, was born in Paris, France, the son of Jean Michel Lachaise, a cabinetmaker and woodcarver, and Marie Barre. Lachaise learned carving in the Paris shop of his father, a master cabinetmaker who had designed the Eiffel apartment in the famed Parisian tower. At the age of thirteen he entered the École Bernard Palissy, then one of France’s foremost applied-arts schools, where he studied drawing, modeling, and carving. In 1898 Lachaise enrolled at the Académie Nationale des Beaux-Arts and studied with Gabriel-Jules Thomas. He discovered “primitive,” Asian, and preclassical art in galleries and museums. Beginning in 1899 he exhibited works for four years at the annual Salons des Artistes. In about 1902 Lachaise met Isabel Dutaud Nagle, a Canadian-American woman who was to become a lifetime obsession and the inspiration for many of his sculptures. She was ten years his senior, married, and had a young child: it was to be fifteen years before she divorced and they could marry. After serving briefly in the military in 1904–1905, Lachaise worked as a craftsman in Paris for jeweler and glassmaker Rene Lalique....

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Langston, John Mercer (14 December 1829–15 November 1897), African-American political leader and intellectual, was born free in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Ralph Quarles, a wealthy white slaveholding planter, and Lucy Jane Langston, a part–Native American, part-black slave emancipated by Quarles in 1806. After the deaths of both of their parents in 1834, Langston and his two brothers, well provided for by Quarles’s will but unprotected by Virginia law, moved to Ohio. There Langston lived on a farm near Chillicothe with a cultured white southern family who had been friends of his father and who treated him as a son. He was in effect orphaned again in 1839, however, when a court hearing, concluding that his guardian’s impending move to slave-state Missouri would imperil the boy’s freedom and inheritance, forced him to leave the family. Subsequently, he boarded in four different homes, white and black, in Chillicothe and Cincinnati, worked as a farmhand and bootblack, intermittently attended privately funded black schools since blacks were barred from public schools for whites, and in August 1841 was caught up in the violent white rioting against blacks and white abolitionists in Cincinnati....

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Lawrie, Lee Oscar (16 October 1877–23 January 1963), sculptor, was born in Rixdorf, Germany. His family emigrated when he was an infant, and he grew up in Chicago. In 1891, after attending public schools in Chicago and the St. Vincent de Paul School in Baltimore, Lawrie entered the studio of sculptor Richard Henry Park, where he learned the rudiments of sculpture and assisted in Park’s work for the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. In the years that followed, Lawrie served as studio assistant to ...

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Manship, Paul Howard (24 December 1885–28 January 1966), sculptor, was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the son of Charles Henry Manship, Jr., and Mary Etta Friend. Academically unmotivated, Manship did not complete high school, choosing instead to study art while supporting himself as a commercial artist. In 1905, in pursuit of further training, Manship moved to New York City, where he enrolled briefly at the Art Students League. He then secured an apprenticeship, lasting two years, with ...

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Powers, Hiram (29 July 1805–27 June 1873), sculptor, whose ideal neoclassical statue, the Greek Slave, opened the door to American appreciation of the nude in art, was born near Woodstock, Vermont, the son of Stephen Powers and Sarah Perry, farmers. The family, suffering from crop failures and financial reverses, left Woodstock for Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1817....

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Volk, Leonard Wells (07 November 1828–19 August 1895), sculptor, was born in Wellstown (now Wells), New York, the son of Garret Volk, a marble cutter who worked on New York’s city hall, and Elizabeth Gesner. Volk spent most of his youth on a farm in Massachusetts. At the age of sixteen he became an apprentice at his father’s marble yard in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Following his advancement to journeyman carver, he worked in western Massachusetts and then formed a partnership with a brother in upstate New York, working in various cities including Buffalo, Rochester, Batavia, and Bethany....

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Vonnoh, Bessie Onahotema Potter (17 August 1872–08 March 1955), sculptor, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Alexander C. Potter, a vendor of agricultural machinery, and Mary Elizabeth McKenney. In 1874 her father died in a railroad accident and she and her mother joined the McKenney family in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, Vonnoh contracted a mysterious illness; although slow recovery began in 1882, spinal damage halted her growth at four feet eight inches tall and apparently left her unable to bear children. Her profound love of the physical activity of modeling clay may have partially resulted from having survived ten years of incapacitation....

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Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt (09 January 1875–18 April 1942), sculptor and patron of the arts, was born in New York City, the daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, considered the wealthiest man in the United States, and Alice Claypoole Gwynne. She was raised in a neo-Renaissance palazzo in her native New York City. She attended the Brearley School and became a debutante, as befitted her social position. Vanderbilt graduated in 1894 and married ...