Collection

Artists

Edward Kemeys

1843 - 1907
Sculptor
Origin: United States
Born: January 31, 1843, Savannah, Georgia
Died: May 11, 1907, Washington, D.C.

Edward Kemeys was the American counterpart to the great French animalier Antoine Louis Barye (1796-1875) and heads the list of the great American animalier sculptors. Kemeys was the first American sculptor to devote his artistic career to portraying the animal life of the western plains and mountains. His love of the west began as a young boy when he spent summers on the Illinois prairie. A self-taught artist, Kemeys discovered his artistic calling by accident. After returning from duty in the Civil War, he moved to New York City where he worked with engineers on the creation of Central Park. Always an animal lover, he delighted in watching the wildlife in the Central Park Zoo. A chance encounter there with a sculptor modeling a wolf inspired his first efforts in wax, also of a wolf. Kemeys was almost instantly successful, enjoying a steady stream of commissions. One of his earliest works, a life-size group of two fighting wolves, was immediately purchased for Fairmont Park in Philadelphia where it remains today. With the proceeds of the sale, Kemeys financed a trip west to Wyoming in 1873 where he lived among hunters and Indians while studying wildlife in its natural habitat. Kemeys also traveled to London and Paris where he drew critical acclaim for his uniquely American style and subject matter. Kemeys was repulsed by the study of caged animals after his experiences in the west, and condemned the artistic results of such observation as lifeless. For these reasons, he found the French sculptors too confining and pedantic in their approach and returned to the United States newly committed to his own artistic vision. Thereafter, he regularly traveled west whenever funding permitted.

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Gray Spirit
c. 1900, Bronze
Edward Kemeys
United States, 1843 - 1907
Indian Jar
1894, Bronze
Edward Kemeys
United States, 1843 - 1907
Panther and Deer (aka Fighting Panther and Deer)
1872, Bronze
Edward Kemeys
United States, 1843 - 1907
Two Pumas
c. 1890, Bronze
Edward Kemeys
United States, 1843 - 1907
Wolf at Bay
1870, Bronze
Edward Kemeys
United States, 1843 - 1907