Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955

Variant names

Hide Profile

Bessie Potter Vonnoh was a sculptor best known for her bronze fountains, portrait busts, and mother-and-child figure groups. Her husband, Robert William Vonnoh, was a painter specializing in portraits and landscapes. The bulk of their work was done during the last quarter of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century.

From the description of Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1987 (bulk 1890-1955.). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123429804

Bessie Potter Vonnoh (1872-1955) was a sculptor from New York, N.Y.

Vonnoh was best known for her bronze fountains, portrait busts, and mother-and-child figure groups. Her husband, Robert William Vonnoh, was a painter specializing in portraits and landscapes. The bulk of their work was done during the last quarter of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century.

From the description of Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1991, bulk 1890-1955. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 430380621

Bessie Potter Vonnoh (1872-1955) was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Alexander and Mary McKenney Potter. In 1874, after the death of her father, her family moved to Chicago. Also at this time, she suffered from a series of illnesses that she did not recover from until she was ten. In school she enjoyed clay-modeling class and decided at an early age that she wanted to be a sculptor. Beginning in 1890 she studied with Lorado Taft at the Art Institute of Chicago and later became one of his assistants (known as the "White Rabbits") for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. She was also given her own commission for the Illinois building at the fair. After this success, Vonnoh opened her own studio in Chicago and made plaster figurines of society women, friends, and their children. She visited New York and took her first trip to Paris in 1895, visiting the studios of many eminent sculptors such as Auguste Rodin. Her work was influenced by the American Impressionist movement, depicted in one of her most famous works, Young Mother. This piece was exhibited in the National Sculpture Society exhibition of 1898 and led to several public sculpture commissions.

In 1899 Bessie Potter Vonnoh moved to New York City and married Impressionist painter, Robert William Vonnoh (1858-1933). They lived in New York and maintained a summer home in Lyme, Connecticut. During her career she received many awards for her works at international exhibitions, including two bronze medals at the Paris Exposition in 1900. Other landmark events included a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1913 and membership into the National Academy of Design in 1921 - the first female sculptor accepted as a permanent member. Vonnoh's work was very well received by the public, and in the 1920s she began working on a larger scale, creating large fountains, such as the Frances Hodgson Burnett Memorial Fountain in Central Park, New York, and other decorative garden figures. Robert Vonnoh died in 1933 and, in 1948, she married Dr. Edward Keyes. Bessie Potter Vonnoh died in New York City in 1955 at the age of 82.

From the guide to the Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1991, bulk 1890-1955, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Shaw, Edwin Coupland, 1863-1941. Edwin Coupland Shaw papers, 1864-1937. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Vonnoh, Robert William and Bessie Potter : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Maynard, Richard Field, 1875-1964. Richard Field Maynard papers, 1895-1979. Archives of American Art
referencedIn DuMond, Frank Vincent, 1865-1951. Frank Vincent DuMond papers, 1866-1982. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1991, bulk 1890-1955 Archives of American Art
creatorOf Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955. Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1991, bulk 1890-1955. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955. Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1987 (bulk 1890-1955.). Archives of American Art
referencedIn Jessie Tarbox Beals Photograph Collection, [1900-1940] (Bulk 1904-1920) New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957,. Interviews of artists and architects associated with the National Academy of Design, 1926-1927. Archives of American Art
creatorOf VONNOH, BESSIE POTTER. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Papers of Lorraine Huling Maynard, (inclusive), (bulk), 1850-2006, 1897-1930 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955. Bessie Potter Vonnoh letters to F.E. Elwell, 1902. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957. DeWitt M. Lockman interviews with artists, 1927. Churchill County Museum
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
New York (State)--New York
Subject
Women sculptors
Landscape painters--New York (State)--New York
Landscape painters
Women sculptors--New York (State)--New York
Artist couples
Portrait painters--New York (State)--New York
Painters
Painters--New York (State)--New York
Portrait painters
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1872-08-17

Death 1955-03-09

Americans

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6dn4nvp

Ark ID: w6dn4nvp

SNAC ID: 22338892