Edmonia Lewis (c) A. Henderson      


NOW AVAILABLE: The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis. A Narrative Biography,  by Harry Henderson ( co-author of A History of African American Art from 1792 to the Present) and Albert Henderson, winner of the eLit GOLD award: "Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence." Independent Opinion:  "The Hendersonsí monument of research and craftsmanship seeks to give Lewis the consideration that she has been deniedónot dissimilar to the artistís own commitment to proving her competitors and critics wrong, demonstrating that a minority could take on the hegemonic tradition of fine arts. The book provides crystalline accounts of Lewisís feuds and mentorships, as well as rich illustrations of the works being discussed throughout. Overall, the authors deliver a well-constructed mix of primary resources, critical analysis and literary flourishes." - Kirkus Reviews. "Thank you so much for your excellent research ... Your work on Edmonia Lewis will be used for many years to come by scholars, art historians, art collectors and anyone interested in knowing more about this outstanding woman"  - Dr. Sheryl Colyer.  "Lewisís story is all at once interesting and sad. Her life, while forgotten for a while is now making a come back among art historians and this immense work helps to secure her artistic legacy." Lifelong Dewey   "A key acquisition for any arts or African-American history holding. The authors' attention to precise scholarship provides all the details of a solid linear history and biography but the end result is anything but dry: it reads with the passion and drama of good literature." Midwest Book Review  "A definitive biography" Washington Times  "5.0 of 5 stars" - Links Goodreads

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New - Recent

May 7, 2020  Swann Galleries. Printed & Manuscript African Americana - Sale 2534 Lot 90. Edmonia Lewis CDV portrait, Henry Rocher.   https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/Lots/auction-lot/(ART)-Rocher-Henry;-photographer-Carte-de-visite-portrait-of?saleno=2534&lotNo=90&refNo=761230   [postponed from March 26, 2020]  Price Realized Including Buyers's Premium $5250.

Feb 20, 2020. 11 am Cowan's Auctions - The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana, Part I   Lot 69. "Edmonia Lewis CDV 1870" Augustus Marshall's photo shop was next door to Edmonia Lewis's space in Boston's studio building, suggesting the pose preceded her 1865 move to Italy. How young she looks campared to Rocher's series, which would have been taken in 1870, during Lewis's Chicago show. Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium $15,000 02/20/2020

March 28, 2019 1:30 pm Swann Galleries African Americana  Sale 2503 Lot 119 cdv of Edmonia Lewis by Augustus Marshall ca 1864-5.  [In 1868, Frank Leslie's Illustrated News published an etching made from this pose -- with which we illustrated the cover of our Edmonia Lewis biography.] Estimate $1000 - 1500. Price realized, $6,000 with buyer's premium.  See also:  http://edmonialewis.com/blog.htm#Earliest

March 29, 2018  1:30pm Swann Galleries  Lot 47.Collection of cartes-de-visite photos  83 mostly cartes-de-visite photos.  "This may be a previously unknown image of Lewis."  Estimate $6,000 - 9,000. Price realized: $47,500 with buyer's premium.

Other Values

Nov.22, 2016 Lot 15. Minnehaha bust, marble, signed and dated. 12" Bonhams New York American Art. Sold for $37,500, incl. premium. Provenance: private collection, California, by descent.

May 21, 2016 Lot 301. Hiawatha, after Edmonia Lewis. marble, unsigned, 13.5"  Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Thomaston, ME. Starting bid $3000. Passed.

April, 2016Minnehaha bust 1868 offered at $35,000 by Lucien Zakay, Atlanta, GA.

Sept. 10, 2015 A pair of 1868 busts, Hiawatha and Minnehaha, is offered by the Gerald Peters Galley in New York City as part of its "A Different Perspective" exhibition (to Oct. 10).   212-628-9760

March 25, 2015 "Minnehaha" - 11 3/4 in.high, white marble, signed - Sold for $27,500 includng buyer's premium. at Christies, New York.   SALE 3723 Lot 75  

Jan. 1, 2015: Rebecca at the Well. signed, 42 1/2" high white marble offered at auction by Fine Arts Auctions. Lot 49. Starting bid. $12,000. Passed.. 

July 19, 2012. Doyle New York Lot 1127: Portrait Medallion Signed EDMONIA LEWIS and inscribed and dated ROMA 1871. Marble, 18" Sold for $17,500, including buyer's premium. Doyle New York did not identify the subject as Ralph Walco Emerson, but the collector, Lee B. Anderson, did when Harry Henderson visited him in 1980.  

------. Lot 1129: American School 19th Century Bust of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Inscribed EMERSON. Marble, 13" Sold for $344, including buyer's premium  At the time of Harry Henderson's visit, Lee Anderson attributed this bust to Edmonia Lewis.

May, 2011 DuMouchelles, Detroit MI  Lot 042022  Marble bust of Hiawatha 14" attributed to Edmonia Lewis sold at auction for $7000.

Nov. 29, 2010:  SOLD for $287,500.  Gabriel's Auctioneers of Norwood, Mass., offered this dynamic Native American scene called Three American Indians in Battle a/k/a  Indians Wrestling.  (No title is inscribed.)  "Fine Quality Antiques & Estates Auction," Lot 100.  The auction was covered by Marilyn Richardson in Maine Antique Digest.

July 10, 2010: SOLD for $27,255. Boston, Skinner Auctioneers offered an Allegorical Maiden, Spring, the standing figure wearing classical dress, with gauzy scarf covering head and face, and clutched in one hand at her chin, the other hand holding a rose, on round, naturalistic base, incised at edge with signature and title, and dated 1880, ht. 34 1/2 in. ... some natural flaw lines in stone, minor handling wear to head and some soiling, a small area of scuffing to spot at back, age typical minor small chips to edge of base." Lot 452. 

The similarly 'veiled' Bride of Spring sold by Cowan's in 2007 stands 48" high (see below).

Dec. 3, 2009:  Sotheby's New York sold a signed Marriage of Hiawatha dated 1872 for $206,500, including buyer's premium. The piece was property of Nazareth Academy High School, Philadelphia, Pa., acquired as a gift around 1930.

Nov. 30, 2009: Two EBay auctions from Akron, Ohio, ended - without a successful bid.*
Plaster Bust of John Brown by Edmonia Lewis - Buy it now $50,000 or best offer. No Shipping.

(B) Plaster Bust of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Edmonia Lewis - Buy it now $50,000 or best offer. No Shipping.

*Seller has withdrawn EBay auction ending Nov. 21, 2009: Marble bust of Minnehaha signed and dated 1868, 11.625 in. high. Starting bid $1,699. Marilyn Richardson wrote, "The marble Minnehaha bust ... offered on eBay [was] a scam, the "seller" even used my catalogue essay verbatim as a description for one.  I contacted him with a couple of questions to make sure he was not legit and then contacted eBay.  They investigated and had the items removed."

May 21, 2009: Sotheby's New York offered Marriage of Hiawatha dated 1874, estimating its value at $125,000 to $175,000.  In spite of a depressed economy and a downward trend in art auction sales, the hammer price including buyer's premium of $314,500 set a new record for this artist. 

February 7, 2009: Cowan's sold a bust of Minnehaha (1868) for $52,875, including buyer's premium.

On May 22, 2008: Sotheby's New York offered the Old Arrowmaker. Estimated value $70,000 to $100,000. The hammer price, including buyer's premium set a record at $301,000 for this artist's works.

In October 2007: a private collector purchased the 1879 'Veiled' Bride of Spring from Cowan's Auctions in Cincinnati for $138,000 (lot 644). Lewis had donated it to Good Samaritan hospital in Cincinnati. It had been put out to salvage when the hospital moved to a new building and finally found in a Kentucky library by an astute art historian.


A summary of earlier auction prices appears in the introduction to The Indomitable Sprit of Edmonia Lewis, by Harry Henderson and Albert Henderson.