Harriet Hosmer and the Cis-tems She Defied

Video (1:08:09): Harriet Hosmer (1830 – 1908) broke new ground for women in American Art becoming one of the most successful sculptors of the 19th Century. Through her extraordinary life as a queer artist, she created a new possibility for being that challenged the meaning of womanhood itself. Historian Beans Velocci and Lori Waselchuk, Assistant Director of Public Programs discuss the life and art of Harriet Hosmer.

Harriet Hosmer (1830 – 1908)

Harriet Hosmer was an expatriate American sculptor. She lived and worked in Rome from 1852 until 1900. There, she thrived in a community of expatriate artists and writers, mostly women, who frequented the salon of actress Charlotte Cushman. Harriet Hosmer worked in a polished Neoclassical style, generally depicting idealized mythological figures, especially female characters known for their strength and courage, such as Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra (circa 1857). She was a lesbian, a staunch feminist and one of the most successful of the American artist working in Rome, Italy. in the mid 1850s journalist, writer and part-time actress Matilda Hays broke up with Charlotte Cushman for Harriet Hosmer; and Charlotte Cushman began a relationship with Ebba Strebins.

About Beans Velocci

‘Beans Velocci is a historian of sex, science, and classification. They are a Lecturer (Assistant Professor effective July 2022) in the Department of History and Sociology of Science and Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Their work uses queer, trans, and feminist methods to interrogate how classification systems become regarded as biological truths.’ – Pensylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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Related Link

Podcast: Harriet Hosmer – The Sculptor’s Funeral Podcast Episode 63