b. 1847, Madison, Wisconsin
d. 1914, Washington, D.C.
In 1866, at the age of 18, Vinnie Ream was selected by the U.S. Congress to sculpt a memorial statue of President Abraham Lincoln. This made her the first female artist commissioned to create a work of art for the United States government. Ream had previously shown her ability to depict the president in a bust that she created from life in Washington. Her selection, however, was accompanied by controversy because she was young, female, and had friendships with members of Congress. Despite the objections, Ream was given the commission and the statue of Lincoln was unveiled in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol in 1871. Ream would later create sculptures of Samuel Jordan Kirkwood and Sequoyah for the National Statuary Hall Collection.
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April 8, 2014
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