Today in History
July 14, 1843
Neoclassical sculptress Edmonia Lewis, the child of a free African American father and a Native American mother, is born c. July 14, 1843. She studies with Boston sculptor Edward Brackett after receiving a letter of introduction from abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Lewis later lives and works in Rome, where her portrayals of African and Native American subjects are well received by Europeans and Americans alike. One of her most realistic works, "The Death of Cleopatra," displayed in Philadelphia in the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition, is rediscovered in the 1970s. In 1994, it is donated to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, where it undergoes a $30,000 restoration.
Today's Feature History Article
The circuitous route of Edmonia Lewis' masterwork, a controversial portrayal of Cleopatra at the moment of death, included stints as decor in a Chicago saloon and as a grave marker for a racehorse
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