Vinnie Ream Hoxie


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Sculptor. Best known for a life-size marble Abraham Lincoln (1870; modeled 1866–68) in the U.S. Capitol, she produced many other portraits as well as ideal subjects reflecting the prevailing taste for neoclassicism. Nearly all her significant work dates before 1878, when she married Richard Leveridge Hoxie. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, before the territory became a state, Vinnie Ream grew up in several midwestern localities. In 1861 she moved with her family to Washington, D.C., where she studied with Clark Mills. During 1864–65 she modeled Lincoln from life while he worked at the White House. This experience subsequently gave her an edge in the stiff competition for a standing figure of the assassinated president to be placed in the Capitol rotunda. In the summer of 1866, she had not yet turned nineteen when she became the first woman to receive a sculptural commission from the federal government. After completing the plaster model of Lincoln in 1868, she departed for Europe to supervise the carving. Abroad, she briefly studied drawing in Paris and visited other art capitals before arriving in Rome. There she produced also several other portraits and imaginative subjects. Shortly after her return, the unveiling of Lincoln in January 1871 brought her fame and numerous commissions. Congress also mandated the most important of these, Admiral David Farragut (1881; modeled 1875–80). Cast in bronze from the melted-down propeller of his flagship, it stands in Washington's downtown Farragut Square. Hoxie did not again work professionally until 1906, when she accepted the first of two additional major portrait commissions. Although she lived in several other locations during her marriage, she resided much of the time in Washington, where she died.

Subjects: Art.

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