July 28th, 1866 – Young Artist to Sculpt Lincoln

Today-In-History

Vinnie Ream was the first and youngest woman to receive a commission as an artist from the United States government for a statue. She was awarded the commission for the full-size Carrara marble statue of Lincoln by a vote of Congress on July 28th, 1866, when she was 18 years old.

Vinnie Ream

She worked in a studio in Room A of the basement of the Capitol. In 1868, she traveled to Wisconsin to gain a commission, unsuccessfully. Senator Edmund G. Ross boarded with her family during the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson. 

800px-Vinnie-ream-lincoln_(2)Ream traveled to Paris, Munich, Florence, then Rome to produce a finished marble figure from the plaster model. She studied with Leon Bonnat in Paris. She made busts of Gustave Dore, Pere Hyacynthe, Franz Liszt, and Giacomo Antonelli. Her studio was at 45 Via de San Basile.

When the statue was complete, she returned to Washington. On January 25th, 1871, her white marble statue of President Abraham Lincoln was unveiled in the United States Capitol rotunda. She was only 23 years old, at which time she opened a studio at 704 Broadway, and in 1871, she exhibited at the American Institution Fair.


 

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