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Women Sculptors:

1893 Chicago World's Fair & Exposition

Continued--page 3


Women Sculptors

A - Lewis  I  Grant - Nevin  I  Ney - Yandell

This Page:
Elisabet Ney
Ellen Mary Rope
Theodora Alice Ruggles
Princess M. Schahovskoy
Janet Scudder
Anna M. Valentien
Luella Varney (Serrao)
Bessie Potter Vonnoh
Mary Seton Watts
Julia Bracken Wendt
Jenny Weyl
Anne Whitney
Enid Bland Yandell

Elisabet Ney (1833 - 1907)

Lady MacBeth  1905 --
representative work


Stephen Austin--commissioned by the
Board of Lady Managers, Women's Building,
1893 Exposition.

Samuel Houston --commissioned by the
Board of Lady Managers, Women's Building,
1893 Exposition.

Born Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney in Westphalia, Germany, Elisabet Ney studied at the Academy in Berlin and the Royal Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Her busts of famous figures like Schopenhauer, King George V of Hanover, Garibaldi, and Bismarck brought her fame. In 1871, she and her physician-husband (Edmund Duncan Montgomery) decided to move to America. Settling in Texas, Ney gave up sculpting for 20 years to raise her two sons and run their plantation while her husband engaged in research.  Ney came out of retirement in 1890 to sculpt the two Texas heroes commissioned by the Board of Lady Managers for the Women's Building at the 1893 World Fair.  Unfortunately, Ney missed the deadline, but these statues are now displayed in the Texas State Capitol.

Ellen Mary Rope (1855 - 1934)

Plaque from Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
[Copyright Arthur Rope -]
--representative work

[Copyright H.Blairman & Sons -]
--one of four spandrels for the
Women's Building, 1893 Exposition.

Hope--This may or may not be the
plaster-relief panel exhibited in the
Women's Building, 1893 Exposition.

Ellen Mary Rope was born into a large family at Grove Farm, Blaxhall, Suffolk, England. She studied drawing with philanthropist-reformer Octavia Hill and later at Ipswich School of Art, but became interested in sculpture while at the Slade School at University College London.  She participated often in the Arts and Crafts Society Exhibitions and began designing decorative arts for Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead.  Rope designed four plaster-relief panels (6 feet tall images of Faith, Hope, Charity and Heavenly Wisdom) for the Women's Building at the Chicago 1893 World Columbian Exposition.  Her brother George Thomas Rope and nieces Dorothy Rope,  Margaret Agnes Rope, and Margaret Edith Rope were also artists.

(Theodora) Alice Ruggles (Kitson) (1876 - 1932)


Aux Bords de L'Oise (On the Banks of the Oise)--
scroll down the page
exhibited in Fine Arts Palace, 1893 Exposition.

Young Orpheus c. 1890 [my scan]--
exhibited in the Fine Arts Palace, 1893 Exposition.

A New England Fisherman 1892 and
Portrait Bust of an Italian Child c. 1887
(images unavailable) -- exhibited in
Fine Arts Palace, 1893 Exposition.

Born in Massachusetts, the teenaged Theo Alice Ruggles studied sculpture in Paris under Dagnan-Bouveret and under Henry Hudson Kitson whom she would marry in 1893. She was commissioned by the women of Michigan to make two bronze statues of the Michigan woods for the Columbian Exhibition at Chicago in 1893 (no images available). She is probably best remembered for her "hiker" statues which were erected in many communities throughout the country in memory of the servicemen killed in the Spanish-American War (1898-99). She was a prolific and well-respected artist in her day.

Princess Mary Schahovskoy-Strechneff (19th Century)

Bust of Princess Oblensky--exhibited
in the Women's Building, 1893 Exposition

Terra Cotta Bust--exhibited in the
Women's Building, 1893 Exposition

Princess Mary Schahovskoy was a Russian sculptor.  A maid of honor to the Empress of Russia, Schahovskoy was part of the Congress of Representative Women and a Judge of Awards in the Fine Arts at the 1893 Exposition.

Janet Scudder (1873 - 1940)

Frog Fountain  c. 1899--
representative work

Cupid atop Tortoise: Fountain--
representative work

The Young Pan--
representative work

Justice and Nymph (images unavailable)--
commissioned statues exhibited in the Illinois
and Indiana buildings respectively, 1893 Exposition

Janet Scudder was one of the most successful American women sculptors of the early twentieth century, but only after enduring considerable discrimination as a woman in the 1890s.  Born Netta Scudder in Terra Haute, Indiana, she first studied art at the Cincinnati Art Academy and then became a studio assistant to Lorado Taft at the 1893 World Fair where she also received commissions to create two heroic-sized statues for the Illinois ("Justice") and Indiana ("Nymph") buildings.  Scudder won a medal at the 1893 Exposition.  Despite this experience, she had trouble getting accepted into Frederick MacMonnies' male-dominated studio in Paris and nearly despaired of being recognized as a sculptor when she returned to New York.  However, with the creation of her playful fountains and garden statuary, she achieved great popularity.  Scudder wrote her autobiography Modeling my Life in 1925.

Young Diana c. 1918.

Anna (Marie Bookprinter) Valentien  (1862 - 1947)

Hero Waiting for Leander--
representative work

Ariadne--exhibited in the Cincinnati Room,
the Women's Building, 1893 Exposition
(with sculptor Anna Valentien in background)

Anna M. Valentien was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to a German immigrant family named Buchdrucker (later Anglicized to "Bookprinter"). She studied portraits with Frank Duveneck and sculpture with Louis T. Rebissoat at the Cincinnati Art Academy.  Some years later, she continued her studies in Paris at Académie Colarossi with Jean Antonin Injalbert and at the Academy Rodin with Auguste Rodin, Emile Bourdelle and Jules Des Bois.  Anna and her artist-husband (Albert Valentien) were decorators with Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati for over twenty years, after which they moved to San Diego and were instrumental in bringing the arts and crafts movement to that area.  She also taught pottery and sculpture at several local schools.

Luella Varney (Serrao) (1865 - after 1935)

Right Reverend Amadeus Rappe, D.D 1888
--representative work.

Mark Twain (bronze) and Portrait of a Lady (marble)
(images unavailable)  -- exhibited in Fine Arts Palace,
1893 Exposition.

American artist Luella Varney was trained in Italy.  In addition to the sculptures listed on this page, she also made a bust of Julia Ward Howe.  No other information is available online.

Bust of Mary Baker Eddy

Bessie (Onahotema) Potter Vonnoh (1872 - 1955)

American Girl--representative work

Butterflies--representative work

Young Mother c. 1896--cast in bronze 1913.
 Exhibited at 1900 World Fair

Bust of a Gentleman --
representative work.

Portrait of Prof. David Swing  and
Portrait in Relief
[Mr. MacGillivray]
(images unavailable) -- exhibited  in
 Fine Arts Palace, 1893 Exposition.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Bessie Potter Vonnoh was raised in Chicago where she studied at the Art Institute.  She was one of  Lorado Taft's female assistants at the 1893 World Fair ; she also did the decorative sculpture called "Art" on the Women's Building.  After studying in Paris, she returned to America and considerable success with her graceful statuettes.  She and her husband-painter Robert Vonnoh were part of the art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Statuettes by Bessie Potter--1897 article with several images of her work.
Biography/Dancing Girl 1897

In Arcadia

Mary Seton (Fraser Tytler) Watts (1849 - 1938)

Boy and Dog--exhibited in the
Women's Building, 1893 Exposition

Mary Seton Watts (born Mary Fraser Tytler) was born in India, but raised by her grandparents in Scotland where she studied painting  at the Slade and South Kensington School of Art.  She married the much older painter George Frederic Watts and at some point evidently studied sculpting in London and Paris. An amateur portrait painter before her marriage, she became a social reformer afterwards by establishing the Potters Guild and the Arts & Crafts Guild in Compton, Surrey, to teach terracotta modeling to the local villagers and gentry.  They provided the labor for the remarkable Watts Chapel and Gallery which were designed and decorated with symbolic terracotta tiles by Mary Watts and dedicated to the preservation of the artistic reputation of her husband.  Mary Watts is remembered for her Celtic and Art Nouveau bas-reliefs, pottery, and textiles.  Her small statuettes, like the one pictured above, were made of terracotta clay, painted with watercolors, and waxed.

Mary Fraser Tytler (aka Mary Seton Watts) Biography
Chapel Angel

Julia M. (Bracken) Wendt (1871 - 1942)



The Three Graces:  Art, Science and History (1914) --
 in the renovated rotunda at the Natural History Museum
of Los Angeles County; sometimes titled The Three Muses.

The Three Graces:  Art, Science and History (1914)--


Lincoln the Lawyer 1925--representative work.


Illinois Welcoming the Nations 1892
 (see contemporary bronze casting of it to the right)--
exhibited in the Illinois Building, 1893 Exposition

James Monroe (image unavailable)--exhibited
at Illinois Building, 1893 Exposition.

Julia Bracken Wendt was born into a large Irish Catholic family in Apple River, Illinois. She studied at the Chicago Art Institute under Lorado Taft and became one of his female assistants at the 1893 World Fair.  Her independently-commissioned statue representing the women of Illinois (Illinois Welcoming the Nations) was also exhibited at the Illinois pavilion and later placed in the Illinois state capitol building along with her statue of James Monroe. After she and her husband (landscape painter William Wendt) moved to California, she created a eleven-foot high allegorical work The Three Graces:  Art, Science and History (1914)--draped goddesses holding up an electrically lit globe--currently on display in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. She became the city's leading sculptor.

(Emilie) Jenny (Schwob) Weyl (1851 - 1934)

Fifteen Years (1888) --exhibited in
Fine Arts Palace, 1893 Exposition

Lucrezia Buti (image unavailable)--
exhibited in Fine Arts Palace, 1893 Exposition

Daughter of a textile merchant, Jenny Weyl was born in Clemence and studied sculpture with French sculptor Hélène Bertaux.  She married a naval officer and traveled in Africa and Spain.  No other information is available online.

Anne Whitney (1821 - 1915)

Lief Ericsson 1887--scroll down the page.
Representative work.


Le Modèle 1885--representative work

Harriet Martineau--representative work


Roma (1890)--bronze statue exhibited
in Fine Arts Palace, 1893 Exposition.

Bust of Lucy Stone--exhibited in
Women's Building, 1893 Exposition.

Harriet Beecher Stowe (image unavailable)--exhibited
in New York Library, Women's Building, 1893 Exposition

At the 1893 World Fair, Anne Whitney was an established older American sculptor.  Born in Watertown, Massachusetts and educated in art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in Boston, Paris, and Rome, Whitney had one commission rejected when it was discovered that she was a woman sculptor. However, she ended up creating many prominent statues, such as her marble sculpture of the Revolutionary War hero Samuel Adams in Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.  Her sculptures often carried a social message.  Africa (1864) showed a woman awakening from the sleep of slavery, and Roma represented the poverty in Rome as a beggar-woman.  She also sculpted busts of suffragists and abolitionists she admired.  Her partner was Abby Adeline Manning, a painter.

Samuel Adams--image
Several Whitney images
Illustration: for Jewett's texts--for "Farmer Finch"

Enid Bland Yandell (1870 - 1934)


Boys with Sea Shells--representative work

Daniel Boone (larger image) -- exhibited
before the Kentucky Building, 1893 Exposition.
Large image
here or here. See placement of statue.

See also Caryatids--
Women's Building, 1893 Exposition

Dr. D. W. Yandell portrait bust and
Quasi Mordo gargoyle (images unavailable)
--exhibited in Women's Building, 1893 Exposition

Enid Yandell, from a prominent and supportive Louisville, Kentucky family (her father was a physician), studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy after graduating from college with a double major in chemistry and art.  Later she studied with Laredo Taft and Philip Martiny in Chicago, Karl Bittner in New York, and Frederick MacMonnies in Paris.  Besides her Daniel Boone and the caryatids for the roof garden of the Women's Building, Yandell's other statues at the 1893 World Fair included Henry Clay and her "Parthenon" statues on the porticoes of the Columbian Exposition Hall.  She won a Special Designer's Medal at the 1893 Exposition.  Along with two associates, Yandell wrote Three Girls in a Flat (1892) based on her personal experiences with the Women's Building.  Her later spectacular fountain sculpture "The Struggle of Life" was exhibited at the 1901 World Fair.  Her 42-foot high figure of Athena was the largest figure designed by a woman. Yandell was the first woman to become a member of the National Sculpture Society.


Some of the above information came from these sources:

Jeanne Madeline Weimann. The Fair Women. Chicago 1981.

F. Graeme Chalmers. Women in the Nineteenth Century Art World. Westport 1988.

Paul V. Galvin. World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Library Digital History Collection, Illinois Institute of Technology.

Maud Howe Elliott, ed.  Art and Handicraft in the Women's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition Rand, McNally, 1894.

Halsey Cooley Ives, ed. World's Columbian Exposition, 1893: Official Catalogue. Part X. Department K.  Chicago 1893.

World's Columbian Exposition Exhibition Catalog. Revised Catalogue, Department of Fine Arts, with Index of Exhibitors.  Chicago 1893.


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These pages are for educational use only.

Text written by K. L. Nichols

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Posted: 6-25-02; Updated:  04-22-12