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The first professional African-American and Native-American sculptor, Edmonia Lewis earned critical praise for work that explored religious and classical themes.
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It was placed in storage and only really rediscovered several decades after her death.
Much like her childhood, Lewis's final years are shrouded in mystery. Until the 1890s, she continued to exhibit her work and was even visited by Frederick Douglass in Rome, but little is known about the last decade or so of her life. Speculation indicates that she died in her adoptive city of Rome , Italy, sometime around 1911, but even that is unclear.
In recent decades, however, Lewis's life and art has received well-deserved respect. Her pieces are now part of the permanent collections of the Howard University Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
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