The Art of the Woman: The Life and Work of Elisabet Ney

Emily F. Cutrer, Author University of Nebraska Press $35 (270p) ISBN 978-0-8032-1438-5
Eccentric, aloof German-American sculptor Elisabet Ney (1833-1907) made her way in a man's world by promoting an image of herself as a romantic rebel. She has inspired novels, plays and biographies, but much of this literature, according to Cutrer, perpetuates unfounded mythssuch as the belief that she fled Germany because she was a secret agent of Bismarck. Her busts of Garibaldi, Schopenhauer and half-mad Ludwig of Bavaria never broke out of the neoclassical mold. Emigrating to Texas in 1871, she and her physician husband bought a decrepit, isolated plantation. Cutrer's rigorous biographical-critical study paints a vivid picture of this adventurous woman's frustrating existence as a frontier artist, ever short on sculptor's supplies and appreciation. Lady MacBeth, the piece that crowned her career in the U.S., is a moving exploration of a woman's grief that may reflect Ney's own private anguish. Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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