Exhibitions: Patricia Cronin: "Harriet Hosmer, Lost and Found"

Patricia Cronin: The Sleeping Faun by Harriet Hosmer, 1865

Patricia Cronin (American, b. 1963). The Sleeping Faun, 1865, 2006. Watercolor on paper, 12 x 15 in. (30.5 x 38.1 cm). Courtesy of the artist

June 5, 2009–January 24, 2010

In this solo exhibition in the Herstory Gallery of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center, Brooklyn-based artist Patricia Cronin presents watercolors illustrating the work of the nineteenth-century American expatriate sculptor Harriet Hosmer.

Hosmer defied expected roles for female artists of her day and yet achieved an uncommon level of success. However, today she is remembered only by a relatively small group of specialists. Inspired by the dearth of thorough scholarship on Hosmer, Cronin has compiled the definitive Hosmer catalogue raisonné (the publication that comprehensively lists an artist’s complete works). In the book, each of Hosmer’s works is represented by a watercolor painted by Cronin. A selection of these watercolors comprises the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.

Hosmer’s neoclassical works depict such historical, mythological, and literary figures as Zenobia, Medusa, and Puck. Cronin’s watercolors capture Hosmer’s noble and playful subjects, as well as the luminosity of the marble carvings. In her research, Cronin has found written references to a handful of Hosmer sculptures that do not appear to have ever been photographed. To represent these pieces, Cronin has made watercolors of what she calls “ghosts”—vague, formless, and ethereal images of sculptures that exist undocumented somewhere in the world, but are lost to art history.


This exhibition is curated by Lauren Ross, Interim Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum.

Patricia Cronin: "Harriet Hosmer, Lost and Found" is made possible by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation.

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