Sally James Farnham1869 - 1943
Born: November 26, 1869
Died: April 28, 1943
Growing up as an avid hunter and horseback rider, Sally James Farnham became fascinated by the anatomy of horses. Her interest in sculpture began as a purely aesthetic one, increasing as she accompanied her father on trips to various museums in Europe, admiring the works on display.
Her career as a sculptor began in 1901, when her husband, Paulding Farnham, a painter and designer for Tiffany's, supplied her with some plasticine to help her pass the hours while recovering from an illness in the hospital. Sally derived great pleasure from her first attempt at sculpting, from which she produced a Spanish dancer. She dedicated herself to the art once she had recuperated.
Farnham received no formal training but welcomed the encouragement, advice, and criticism of artists Frederic Remington and Henry Shrady. She grew to become an incredibly versatile and highly sought after artist, completing portrait busts, equestrian statues, and bas reliefs. She received commissions from U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Harding, and Hoover. She completed a life size equestrian statue of Simon Bolivar for the Venezuelan Government. Very impressed with her work, Venezuela awarded her the decoration of the Order of the Bust of Bolivar, a rare accomplishment for a woman at the time. Around 1905, Farnham took a trip to a ranch in British Columbia and after that she sculpted her first western works, focusing on cowboys in various poses.
The National Museum of Wildlife Art owns one bronze sculpture by Farnham, Courtship, Two Elephants. This piece displays Farnham's mastery of the art and her ability to accurately sculpt wildlife along with her other specialties.