THE ART OF THE WOMAN: The Life and Work of Elisabet Ney by Emily Fourmy Cutrer

THE ART OF THE WOMAN: The Life and Work of Elisabet Ney

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A solid biography of an immigrant German sculptor who settled in the Wild West. Elizabet Ney was, from the evidence of the works illustrated here, a largely uninspired academician whose portraits included such 19th-century ""great men"" as Garibaldi and ""Mad"" King Ludwig of Bavaria. It was in Europe, in fact, that Ney achieved most of whatever renown she enjoyed. Once she had fled her native land--there was talk of her being involved in spying--she found it difficult to interest the Texans, among whom she and her doctor husband settled, in her grandiose sculptures. Nor was her lifestyle--eccentric dress, questions about her marital status, abrasive and self-promoting pronouncements--likely to endear her to her prairie neighbors. She was, however, eventually able to obtain a commission for the portraits of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin now in the Scuplture Hall of the National Capitol. Cutrer is refreshingly straightforward in her treatment of her subject. She refuses to inflate Ney's reputation, for example, admitting that many of the works are stiff and unconvincing, and that Ney could be prickly, moralistic, and domineering. Cutrer is also quite perceptive in her discussions of the ironies involved in Ney's determination to use the world's ""great men"" to achieve her own fame and independence. A constantly involving, if a minor addition to feminist studies.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1988
Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska Press