My first post about women artists represented on Public Art Walk Boston included art by both Anne Whitney and Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson on Commonwealth Avenue Mall. That was in March 2017. Now almost a year later, I will wrap up the promised project with their additional art.
Thadeus Kosciuszko in Boston Public Garden
Samuel Adams outside Faneuil Hall
Both Whitney (1821—1915) and Kitson (1871—1932) were successful productive sculptors. Both also faced and dealt with challenges related to being women.
Samuel Adams by Anne Whitney
At the time that Whitney began to study art, women had limited educational opportunities.
Unlike male students, women could not take life drawing classes.
Whitney moved to New York so that she could study anatomy at a Brooklyn hospital from 1859 and into 1860.
Two years later, she rented a studio in Boston near William Rimmer, an artist and physician, with whom she studied. He critiqued her works as she began making full-length sculptures.
[Photo captions quote from Wikipedia biography of Anne Whitney]
“This bronze sculpture is based on an earlier marble version, which Anne Whitney created for the Capitol building in Washington, DC. The City of Boston then requested a replica to be placed in front of Faneuil Hall, where Adams participated in town meetings to discuss British taxation and occupation. Despite the success of this commission, Whitney was barred from sculpting another male figure only a few years later (see Charles Sumner*).”[quote from Public Art Walk Boston]
Tadeusz Kościuszko by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson
Born in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1746, Tadeusz Kocuiszko became an American military hero during the Revolutionary War.
He immigrated to the colonies in 1775, joined the Continental Army shortly thereafter, and rose to the rank of colonel and then head engineer.
In this final position, he oversaw the fortification of such strategic areas as the city of Philadelphia, the Delaware River,and West Point, the site of the future military academy.
Kocuiszko was also recognized as a military hero in his homeland, where he fought against invading Russian troops in 1792.
Boston-area Polish organizations commissioned this bronze statue by local sculptor Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson to memorialize the 150th anniversary of Kosciuszko’s enlistment in the Continental Army.
[Photo captions quote from Public Art Walk Boston. ]
“Theodora Alice Ruggles Kitson preferred to be known as Theo. Kitson, or T.A.R. Kitson, at least professionally. She was not alone in choosing a masculine-sounding name, for in the 19th century this was an advantage for a woman whose work was in the public eye.” (quote from Carolyn Wirth in 69 Memorials and a Hiker)
For valuable context about women sculptors of the times when Whitney and Kitson worked, read The Enigma of American Women Sculptors and other posts by Carolyn Wirth on her site To Work as a Sculptor, a truly significant resource for me.
Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson (January 29, 1871 – October 29, 1932)
Anne Whitney (September 2, 1821 – January 23, 1915)
The Enigma of American Women Sculptors, to work as a sculptor, a studio journal by Carolyn Wirth
69 Memorials and a Hiker, to work as a sculptor, a studio journal by Carolyn Wirth
Salute to Women Artists along Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Boston Public Art Walk: Samuel Adams
Boston Public Art Walk: Tadeusz Kosciuszko
Boston Public Art Walk: Charles Sumner