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Harriet Whitney Frishmuth

Harriet Whitney Frishmuth

Harriet Whitney Frishmuth. Courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria Magazine

Transcontinental Education

Harriet Frishmuth was born in 1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After her parents divorced, she moved with her mother and sisters to Europe. She studied with Auguste Rodin in Paris and Cuno von Uechtritz-Steinkirch in Berlin. Upon her return to America, Frishmuth continued her training at the Art Students League of New York and apprenticed with sculptor Karl Bitter. In addition, Frishmuth did design work for Gorham Manufacturing Company.

Forging the Female Form

As Frishmuth’s career advanced, she became best known for representing female figures in bronze, particularly dancers. Her smaller works were sought after for private collections and museums, whereas her larger-scale creations were often acquired for gardens, fountains, and public squares. Following a successful run of exhibitions in the 1920s at venues like the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Salon in Paris, Frishmuth saw the market for her work mostly dry up during the Great Depression. However, she remained active in her Sniffen Court studio in New York throughout the 1930s.

Classical over Modern

Given her unfavorable opinion of modern art, Frishmuth produced much less work in the decades that followed. In 1980, she died in Waterbury, Connecticut and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. Having garnered many awards during her lifetime, a large collection of Harriet Frishmuth’s drawings is now held at Syracuse University.

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Harriet Whitney Frishmuth