Manual Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject

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On the other Child of the Fire also succeeds as a detailed study of Lewis's art Thanks to Buick's smart and timely study, Lewis's art and career are with us, as we continue to give them the scrutiny they disserve.

Making Art Against the Odds: The Triumph of Edmonia Lewis

In the field of American art, most studies of such artists have assumed that their art directly expresses or reflects their racial, ethnic, and gender identities, usually understood in terms of late-twentieth-century identity politics. While these heroic narratives of self-expression and cultural resistance are a necessary first step in recovering such artists from oblivion, the time has come for a more sophisticated analysis of how these artists actually worked and what they achieved.

Kirsten Pai Buick provides that. Kirsten Pai Buick has written a brilliant, historically and culturally grounded investigation into one of the most fascinating people of the nineteenth-century. Despite the challenge of a subject as elusive and enigmatic as Mary Edmonia Lewis, Buick brings Lewis's work back where it belongs: into the fold of nineteenth-century American art, albeit from the vantage point of a knowing, African American, female, expatriate, Catholic iconoclast.

This volume is a crucial model for multiple disciplines.

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Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. Pinder, Choice "This book is so tantalizing because, as Buick herself concludes, Lewis remains an enigma Despite the difficulties presented by the lack of archival materials, the quality of this study presents a challenge to art historians to avoid 'conversing with stereotype' by doing our cultural and contextual homework.

Child of the Fire is a significant book because it reminds us to consider cultural context over simpler readings that merge racial and gender identity with interpretation of an artist's work. Help Centre. Track My Order.

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Add to Wishlist. Ships in 7 to 10 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Illustrations Preface. All Rights Reserved. More Books in Art from to See All. In Stock.


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Edmonia Lewis

Escher The Graphic Work. Matisse Basic Art Series 2. There is a double-bind of past and present that keeps Edmonia Lewis in the shadows of historical understanding: during her lifetime, she provided conflicting information about the date and place of her birth; to further complicate matters, we know virtually nothing of her private life; moreover, statements that she made about her parentage are also questionable.

Claiming that her father was African American, she may have tailored her ethnic heritage to suit the expectations of her audience. In hindsight, it seems as if Edmonia Lewis handed art history the tools with which to misrepresent her. She makes a case for the centrality of Lewis as a quintessential American artist in terms of her commitment to thoroughly American subjects such as freedom, indigenous peoples, and Civil War heroes, and touches on key tropes such as sentimentalism, neoclassicism, racialization, disappearance, and mimeticism.

She created a bust of the young colonel and manufactured copies, which she sold to finance a trip to the Continent in It also provided crucial access both to the prized Carrara marble and to skilled carvers—although Lewis, unlike most of her colleagues, did her own carving, to stave off those who might say she was incapable of being a sculptor because of her race and gender.

Buick includes portraits of Lewis, such as the handsome studio photograph that graces the book cover, showing how they border on the ethnographic. Frederick Douglass records one of the last sightings of Lewis in his diary. He and his second wife visited Rome in the late s and, with Lewis and her female companion, traveled to Naples for a tour of Pompeii.