Portrait Medallion of Wendell Phillips
Signed EDMONIA LEWIS and inscribed and dated ROMA 1871 (ll)
Diameter 18 1/8 inches
Although Lee Anderson believed that this portrait medallion depicted the likeness of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Marilyn Richardson, author of a biography of Edmonia Lewis forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press, has identified the subject as Wendell Phillips (1811-1884).
When she moved to Boston in 1863, Edmonia Lewis found favor with the abolitionist community, including Phillips, who was active in the campaign against slavery and was also an advocate for the rights of Native Americans. Lewis first depicted Phillips in 1864-65, when she created a group of portraits of abolitionist leaders; the current location of these works is not known.
This portrait medallion will be reproduced in the forthcoming biography of the artist, The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis. A Narrative Biography, by Harry Henderson and Albert Henderson, to be published in the Fall, 2012. We thank Marilyn Richardson and Albert Henderson for their very kind assistance in documenting this relief portrait.
C Sold to Benefit the Lee B. Anderson Memorial Foundation
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