Harriet Whitney Frishmuth1880 - 1980
Born: 1880, Philadelphia
Died: 1980, New York
Harriet Whitney Frishmuth received extensive art training in the Unites States and abroad. As a child she moved with her divorced mother and sisters to Paris and Dresden where they lived for eight years. There, she was fortunate to study under renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin, who encouraged her work and recognized in her a great deal of potential. She later went on to work under Jean-Antoine Injalbert as well as Cuno von Uechtrizt-Steinkirch. Her career took off upon her return to the United States as she began to study at the Art Students League and exhibited her work at the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Frishmuth was a member of a group of women sculptors and painters who referred to themselves as "The Philadelphia Ten." This group forged new ground for women artists and triumphed in the art scene at a time when opportunities for women artists to exhibit their work was scarce. The group, which included other reputable artists such as Isabel Branson Cartwright, Constance Cochrane, Mary Russell Ferrell Colton, and Edith Lucile Howard, exhibited between 1917-1945. This was a period of great change for women as they were becoming essential members of the work force due to WWI and WWII.
Best known for her whimsical dancing figures, flying through the air in pairs or posing alone, Frishmuth worked from live models. She frequently called upon the dancer Desha, who was well known among artists for her ability to hold difficult poses for extended periods of time. In order to augment her capabilities as an artist, Frishmuth enrolled in a dissection class at the College of Physicians. The sculpture owned by The National Museum of Wildlife Art, Ruppert Eagle, 1912, displays her mastery of conveying movement and grace in her subjects.