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Virtual Happy Hour: Edmonia Lewis

January 12, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm UTC+0

WHATVirtual Happy Hour: Edmonia LewisJoin the staff of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) for a virtual happy hour to celebrate the work and life of Edmonia Lewis. Make a specialty cocktail (or mocktail) in her honor with AJ Johnson, partner and bar director of Serenata, as we share artworks, stories and explore her amazing life.

WHEREOnline. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join.

WHENWednesday, January 12, 5:30–6:30 p.m.

PRICEDonation-based; contribute what you can.

ABOUT THE ARTISTEdmonia Lewis (1843/1845–1907) is considered the first professional African American sculptor. Of mixed African American and Native American descent, Lewis was orphaned at an early age and moved around with her mother’s tribe until her brother financed her early schooling. She attended Oberlin College for a short time and reported daily discrimination, including being beaten and accused of poisoning her white roommates.

Lewis moved to Boston and worked under the tutelage of portrait sculptor Edward Brackett. She began sculpting portraits of abolitionists and Civil War heroes, selling enough pieces to finance a trip to Rome, Italy, where she would spend much of the rest of her life. There she began to work in marble, a readily available material. Unlike many of her compatriots, the artist completed most of her work without assistance.

Lewis is one of few woman artists of this period who experienced success during her lifetime. She was featured in many exhibitions and completed important commissions, including The Death of Cleopatra (1876) for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and a portrait of former president Ulysses S. Grant. Unfortunately, many of her works did not survive. Lewis never married and had no children. She died in London in 1907.


IMAGEHenry Rocher, Edmonia Lewis, ca. 1870; Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian Institution


January 12, 2022
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm UTC+0
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National Museum of Women in the Arts
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