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Edmonia Lewis (1844 - 1907)

Lot 69: Edmonia Lewis (circa 1843-after 1909) , The Old Arrow Maker white marble


May 22, 2008
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


inscribed Old Arrow Maker on the base white marble


measurements height: 19 in. alternate measurements (48.3 cm)


Marilyn Richardson's letter confirming the sculpture's authenticity will accompany the lot.
Marilyn Richardson writes: "Along with income from sales and commissions, Edmonia Lewis supported herself through the sale of marble busts and groups illustrating scenes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's phenomenal bestseller, the epic poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855). While inumberable painters and sculptors drew inspiration from that poem, Lewis's figures were particular favorites among collectors, created as they were by the hand of a woman known to be part Ojibway. "Copies of The Old Arrow Maker (sometimes called The Old Arrow Maker and His Daughter) identical in design and composition, were also titled The Wooing of Hiawatha. Both titles come from Longfellow's Chapter X, "Hiawatha's Wooing," which includes the passages: At the doorway of his wigwam
Sat the ancient Arrow-Maker...
Making arrowheads of jasper ...
At his side, in all her beauty,
Sat the lovely Minnehaha ...
Plaiting mats of flags and rushes; ...

And further along: At the feet of Laughing Water
Hiawatha laid his burden,
Threw the red deer from his shoulders;...

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For Sale from Sotheby's