Katharine Lane Weems1899 - 1987
Born: February 22, 1899, Boston
Katharine Lane Weems developed an appreciation for art at an early age through the encouragement of her father, the president of The Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. As a child she was privy to private tours through the galleries as well as a strong education. After her father's death in 1914, Weems became determined to make a career out of her artistic talents, in part as a tribute to his memory. In 1918 she enrolled in classes at the school of The Museum of Fine Arts, and mmediately became a top student. Her prowess as an artist and her refusal to accept any special accommodations because of her connection to the museum gained her the respect of her instructors and peers, alike.
In 1921, Weems began private lessons with Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, one of the top women animaliers of the time. Huntington pushed Weems to study the varied structures and movements of individual animals, taking her to the New York Zoological Gardens so she could study from live subjects. Weems would sketch and observe the animals, drawn to their power, grace, and individual movements, all of which she strove to convey through her bronze sculptures.
Through Huntington, Weems was introduced to artists Paul Manship, Herbert Haseltine, Malvina Hoffman, and Brenda Putnam, all of whom added encouragement and guidance throughout her career. Weems experienced a great deal of success, being recognized with numerous awards and honors from places such as the Paris Salon, The National Academy of Design, and The National Academy of Women Artists, to name a few.
Weems did not wish to show the savage and wild side of her subjects, rather she expressed a tameness and intimacy and created elegant, decorative sculptures. This gentleness can be seen in Dolphins of the Sea (1977).
When asked why she chose animals as her primary subject matter as opposed to people, Weems commented, "When you're doing a human figure you're always working on the same fundamental chassis; but with animals the variation in
composition is infinite; an animal is forever in movement, in different,
unconscious grace. And finally, you never have the relatives to