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Alice Levi Duncan
BESSIE POTTER VONNOH (American 1872-1955)
Bessie Potter Vonnoh’s early work concentrated on images of babies, mothers and children as well as figures of adolescent girls (often dancing). Ultimately the artist distained the public demand for more of such works, as she was determined to expand her artistic identity. By the turn of the century, she had married the painter Robert Vonnoh, visited and studied with Rodin in Paris and moved from Chicago to New York. By 1908, she was sculpting female figures wearing classical draperies in poses that were influenced by antique imagery.
Her work of this period has strong parallels to the contemporary painters Thomas Dewing and Edmund Tarbell in their impressionist view of elegant women. These later sculptures were well received both by the public and the critics when Vonnoh exhibited them at the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy, etc. Her later works expanded to life size fountains and large-scale commissions