Edmonia Lewis (American, 1845–1907)
29 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 10 3/4 inches
Gift of the West Foundation in honor of Gudmund Vigtel and Michael E. Shapiro
Little is known of the American sculptor Edmonia Lewis. Of African and Native American descent, Lewis worked most of her career in Rome. She is best known for compositions that suggest the complexities that arise at the intersections of culture and race. Here, she depicts the famous explorer Columbus with a Native American woman at his feet, a paternalistic presentation that celebrates the discovery of the New World while suggesting the tragic impact on Native American culture that resulted.