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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Harriet Hosmer

b. 1830, Watertown, Massachusetts; d. 1908, Watertown, Massachusetts

American-born sculptor Harriet Hosmer lived and worked in Rome from 1852 until 1900. There, she thrived in a community of expatriate artists and writers, mostly women, who frequented the salon of actress Charlotte Cushman. A lesbian and a staunch feminist, Hosmer worked in a polished Neoclassical style, generally depicting idealized mythological figures, especially female characters known for their strength and courage, such as Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra (circa 1857). She was one of the most successful artists of the Rome group—which included Anne Whitney and Edmonia Lewis—and was able to support herself comfortably from the sale of her works.