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Hiawatha's Marriage

On view

Hiawatha's Marriage

Artist: Edmonia Lewis (American, c. 1845 - 1907)

Date: 1874
Medium: white marble
Dimensions:
32 1/4 x 15 x 10 1/2 inches (81.9 x 38.1 x 26.7 cm)
Classification: Sculptures
Inscribed: HIAWATHA'S MARRIAGE (front edge of base, etched in stone)
Signed: EDMONIA LEWIS ROMA 1874 (back edge of base, etched in stone)
Credit Line: Purchase of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, 2009
Object number: 2009.3.1
Label Text:Lewis’s heritage affected her choice of subjects and their meaning. The sculptor was part African American. She was also part Ojibwe Indian, which influenced this sculpture. The subject comes from the poem The Song of Hiawatha. The poem drew upon Ojibwe stories and history, even though it was written by a white poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Lewis chose to depict the marriage of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, two Indians from different groups. She carved the couple stepping forward, with hands clasped. The artist presents a positive portrayal of these Indian people, united in love and happiness.
Provenance: Unknown gallery, Jacksonville, Illinois; acquired c.1960 by an unknown owner; purchased June 26, 2009 through (Sotheby's, New York, New York) by Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation [1]; accessioned to the Stark Museum of Art | 1. Sotheby's, American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture, New York, May 21, 2009, 10:00am, Lot 32
Exhibitions:
  • Western Classics: Highlights from the Collection