May 11 , 2010

Vinnie Ream

An American Sculptor


She was able, through clever maneuvering and dogged determination, to achieve a commission from the Congress for a life-sized statue of the assassinated president—this despite the very real animus against women artists at that time, which is apparent in the heated arguments against granting her the Lincoln commission—arguments spearheaded in the Senate by Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.

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Steeped in the history of her time, Vinnie Ream was involved with dozens of senators and congressmen and other powerful men—not least of all Generals Sherman and Custer—and her studio on Capitol Hill became a legendary stopping place for many admirers and tourists. Her statue of Lincoln stands in the rotunda of the capitol building; her statue of Admiral Farragut stands in a Washington, D.C. park; other works are in Statuary Hall and various museums. This is an engaging biography of a spirited female artist, and an effective portrait of Washington, D.C. in the Civil War era.

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