Lewis studied at Oberlin College and apprenticed with a sculptor in Boston before relocating to Rome in 1866. Of Native American (Ojibwe) and African American ancestry, she became the first non-white American sculptor to achieve international renown. Lewis’s most popular works were Native American subjects, readily purchased by patrons on both sides of the Atlantic. Indian Combat, a spiraling composition with three intertwined figures, ranks as her most dynamic and complex creation. Although Lewis’s Native American subjects typically exist in multiple versions, this example appears to be unique.

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  • Title: Indian Combat
  • Creator: Edmonia Lewis (American, c. 1844-1907)
  • Date Created: 1868
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 76.2 x 48.3 x 36.5 cm (30 x 19 x 14 3/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Purchased sometime in the 1950s by a man living in Weston, MA; (Gabriel's Auctioneers/Appraisers, Norwood, MA); (Gerald Peters Gallery, NY)
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/2011.110
  • Medium: marble
  • Inscriptions: The base of the sculpture is inscribed: "EDMONIA LEWIS / FECIT A ROME 1868"
  • Fun Fact: Growing up in her Ojibwe community, Lewis went by a name that translates as "Wildfire."
  • Department: American Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: America, 19th century
  • Credit Line: American Painting and Sculpture Sundry Purchase Fund and Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
  • Collection: American - Sculpture
  • Accession Number: 2011.110

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