Bessie Potter Vonnoh
Bronze, brown patina
Signed and dated rear base: Bessie Potter Vonnoh / 1902
Inscribed left rear base: Roman Bronze Works N.Y. /3
Paper label underneath bearing ink inscription: Mrs. HC / Wortman
The Artist, Mrs. H.C. Wortman, Portland, Oregon,
Note: The Wortman family were prominent merchants in Portland. Olds, Wortman and King was considered the oldest department store West of the Mississippi in the 1890’s.
Bessie Vonnoh was born in Saint Louis, Missouri on August 17th, 1872. Vonnoh studied at The Art Institute of Chicago with Lorado Taft and worked as one of his assistants for the decorations of the Columbian Exposition in 1893. At the Columbian Exposition Vonnoh was influenced by the work she saw by Paul Troubetzkoy. This lead Vonnoh to focus on subjects of young girls, mothers and children depicted in modern costumes. In 1899 Bessie Vonnoh married the painter Robert Vonnoh after which they settled in New York.
During Vonnoh’s lifetime her work increasingly received public attention and popularity. In 1904 her sculpture, Enthroned, won the Shaw Prize of the National Academy of Design. Then in 1913 the Brooklyn Museum exhibited her work and they still have in their museum collection a number of her works. Vonnoh’s sculptures are in a number of public collections including the Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Brookgreen Gardens, and Carnegie Institute of Chicago.