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Caesar, Doris (11 November 1892–1971), sculptor and painter, was born Doris Porter in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Alfred Hayes Porter, a lawyer and later the president of Royal Baking Powder Co., and Lillian Dean. Her early childhood was typical of upper-middle class European-American children of the time until her mother died in 1903. Caesar grew closer to her father after her mother’s death, and their relationship was instrumental in developing her interest in art. In 1909 she was studying at the prestigious Spence Academy in the morning, then running off to study painting and drawing at the Art Students League in the afternoon. At the Art Students League she met with friends and talked about “painting, people and politics” (Goodrich and Baur, p. 25). She later described herself at sixteen years old as “practically a bohemian.” Her studies continued until late in 1913, when she met and married Harry Caesar. Doris Caesar spent the next twelve years in a fairly conventional lifestyle, giving birth to two children in 1914 and 1916 and devoting her time to her new family. At the onset of World War I Caesar was left to care for the household alone. If these domestic aspects of Caesar’s life were all-consuming at the time, they did not diminish her desire to pursue her artistic career....

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J. Susan Isaacs

Hesse, Eva (11 January 1936–29 May 1970), artist, was born in Hamburg, Germany, the daughter of Wilhelm Hesse, a criminal attorney, and Ruth Marcus. In 1938, to escape the Nazis, she and her sister, Helen, were sent on a children’s train to Amsterdam, where they were placed in a Catholic orphanage. In 1939 the family reunited and emigrated to New York City, where Hesse’s father became an insurance broker. Very soon thereafter her mother, probably depressed as a result of the war and subsequent relocation, was hospitalized. Her parents were divorced in 1945, and in 1946 her mother committed suicide, an event that shaped Hesse’s vision of herself and her art. Hesse attended therapy sessions most of her adult life, kept private diaries and datebooks, and wrote autobiographical letters to friends. Her desire for personal expression ultimately extended to the visual arts, initially painting but finally culminating in a significant body of sculptural work that alluded to, but did not illustrate, her emotional and physical anguish....

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Liberman, Alexander (04 September 1912–19 November 1999), sculptor and painter, was born Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman in Kiev, Russia, the son of Semeon Liberman, a well-regarded timber industry analyst for both the czarist and Bolshevik governments, and Henriette Pascar, a half-gypsy who directed the first state-run children's theater in Moscow. During the early years of the Russian Revolution, chaotic conditions in St. Petersburg and Moscow, where Liberman spent his early childhood, were reflected in an unruly temperament, which forced his parents to school him at home. In 1921 Semeon Liberman received permission from Lenin to take his son abroad, where Alexander was sent to boarding schools in England and France. His mother accompanied him to England, while his father continued to work in Moscow before finally and permanently leaving for France, where the family was reunited in 1926....

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MacMonnies, Frederick William (28 September 1863–22 March 1937), sculptor and painter, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William David MacMonnies, a grain broker, and Juliana Eudora West, a grandniece of painter Benjamin West. Young Willie determined to be a sculptor and made clever figures from clay and dough. Because the Civil War bankrupted the family, as a teenager MacMonnies left school, taking odd jobs before becoming choreboy in the New York studio of ...

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Newman, Barnett (29 January 1905–04 July 1970), painter and sculptor, was born in New York City, the son of Abraham Newman, a manufacturer of men’s clothes, and Anna Steinberg. The Newmans were emigrants from Lomza in Russian Poland and named their first son Baruch, which they Americanized to Barnett. Newman attended the National Hebrew School (of which his father, an ardent Zionist, was a founding trustee) and DeWitt Clinton High School, both in the Bronx. Cutting classes in high school, Newman would visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In an interview not long before his death he commented, “Growing up in New York, the word ‘museum,’ for me, meant the Metropolitan” (“In Front of the Real Thing,” ...

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O’Donovan, William Rudolf (28 March 1844–20 April 1920), sculptor and painter, was born in northern Augusta County, Virginia (now Preston County, W.Va.), the son of James Hayes O’Donovan, an itinerant tailor, and Mary Bryte. O’Donovan attended school in Virginia and later Greene Academy in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. He left an apprenticeship with a marble cutter in Carmichaels in about 1859 to work in Virginia, before joining the Confederate army in 1861. O’Donovan served with the Staunton, Virginia, artillery in the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia and surrendered with ...

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Read, Thomas Buchanan (22 March 1822–11 May 1872), poet, painter, and sculptor, was born in Corner Ketch, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Very little is known about his parents. The death of Read’s father in about 1832 propelled the breakup of the family. Thomas was apprenticed to a tailor whose reputedly cruel treatment of the boy prompted him to run away to Philadelphia. He worked for a cigar maker and a grocer before moving, at about age fifteen, to Cincinnati, the home of a married sister. He evidently received little formal education. In Cincinnati he found employment as a sign painter and a cigar maker, and he also worked as an apprentice tombstone carver for the sculptor ...

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Remington, Frederic (04 October 1861–26 December 1909), illustrator and artist, was born Frederic Sackrider Remington in Canton, New York, the son of Seth Pierre Remington, a newspaper editor, and Clara Sackrider. The details of his early years are poorly recorded. During the Civil War, his father served as a cavalry major and brevet colonel in the Union army; as a result, martial themes and scenes of conflict between men on horseback became an important component of Remington’s art. In 1877 Remington attended Highland Military Academy at Worcester, Massachusetts, where he chafed under the military discipline of that institution but loved the thought of war and the soldier’s life. He entered Yale University in 1878 to study art, but his passion for the details and techniques of this subject were second to his enthusiasm for football. In 1879 he was a starting forward on the Yale team captained by ...

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Rideout, Alice Louise (? Oct. 1871–18 April 1953), painter and sculptor, was born in Marysville, California. Rideout’s exact birth date is still unknown, but, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Rideout was born “two months more than twenty years ago” from its publication date of 6 December 1891. She was the daughter of Captain James Ransom Rideout and Alvira Jane Fish of Maine. From 1868 to 1870 her father was county treasurer, and he and one of her brothers, Ernest V. Rideout, ran a fleet of freight and passenger steamers that traveled the San Francisco Bay and up the Sacramento and Feather rivers to Sacramento....

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Rimmer, William (20 February 1816–20 August 1879), artist and teacher, was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Thomas Simon Rimmer, a shoemaker and laborer, and Mary Elizabeth Borroughs. His father believed himself to be the younger son of Louis XVI and rightful heir to the throne of France after the death of his older brother in 1789. This supposed royal heritage, which is historically unverifiable, provided the source for recurring themes and motifs in Rimmer’s later work. Rimmer was brought to the United States in 1818 and never returned to Europe. Raised in poverty, he spent most of his life eking out a living to support himself and his large family. In 1840 he married Mary Hazard Corey Peabody, with whom he had eight children. Rimmer was virtually unknown as an artist until he was forty-five. Partially educated by his father and partially self-taught, his diverse activities and talents extended beyond those of sculptor, painter, draftsman, printmaker, and teacher to include writer and physician. A learned anatomist, Rimmer practiced medicine in the Boston area from the late 1840s to the early 1860s, and through his study of art anatomy, he fashioned a personal grammar of form in which the male nude became a metaphor for themes of heroic struggle....

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Smithson, Robert Irving (02 January 1938–20 July 1973), artist and art theorist, was born in Passaic, New Jersey, the son of Irving Smithson, the vice president of a mortgage loan firm, and Susan Duke. Smithson grew up in Rutherford and Clifton, New Jersey. His pediatrician was the poet ...

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Twombly, Cy (25 April 1928–05 July 2011), artist and sculptor, was born Edwin Parker Twombly, Jr., in Lexington, Virginia, the younger child of Edwin Parker Twombly, Sr., and Mary Welma Richardson, New Englanders who had settled in the South. The family traveled frequently to his mother’s native Maine and his father’s native Massachusetts, though the worn neoclassicism of Lexington is often deemed foundational to Twombly’s aesthetic disposition. He assumed as a lifelong nickname the moniker by which his father was also known; Edwin, Sr., a beloved golf and swimming coach at Washington and Lee University, had spent one summer pitching for the Chicago White Sox and was called “Cy” after the famous pitcher ...

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Wright, Joseph (16 July 1756 or 1757–13 September 1793), painter and sculptor, was born and raised in Bordentown, New Jersey, the son of Joseph Wright, a cooper, and Patience Lovell. Historian William Dunlap, based on information provided by Wright’s daughters, gives the year of his birth as 1756, whereas the register of the schools of the Royal Academy of Arts in London states that he turned seventeen in 1774, meaning he was born in 1757. His father possessed considerable property in Philadelphia and New Jersey, and his mother, who gave him his first lessons in art, would become an internationally known sculptor. Wright entered the Academy of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) in 1769 and studied there until 1772, probably the year that he and two of his four sisters crossed the Atlantic to join their mother, now a widow, in London, where she had established a waxworks, which they all presumably helped her operate....

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Young, Mahonri Mackintosh (09 August 1877–02 November 1957), sculptor, teacher, and painter, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Mahonri Moriancumer Young, the owner of a textile factory, and Agnes Mackintosh; he was a grandson of Brigham Young. The family lived on a farm near Salt Lake City. His fondest early memories were playing in the woods and using clay from the nearby riverbed to form art objects. “I cannot remember when I did not want to be a sculptor,” reads the first line of his unfinished autobiography....