Friday, March 12, 2010

In History: Selma Burke

This is the 16th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.


"Selma Hortense Burke is one of the few African-American women sculptors who achieved a high level of national recognition during her lifetime. She received national recognition for her relief portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt which was the model for his image on the dime. She was committed to teaching art to others, so she established the Selma Burke Art School in New York City and opened the Selma Burke Art Center in Pittsburgh, PA." (via)

When asked about when this photo was taken, the Smithsonian Institute responded with "We don’t know the date the picture was taken. The negative/photograph is not dated and we haven’t been able to identify the sculpted bust shown in the photograph. We can only guess the age of the artist in the photograph. The artist’s life spanned almost an entire century, but her artistic career blossomed starting in early mid-life. Born in Mooresville, North Carolina, she arrived in New York City during the burgeoning of African American artistic expression, was a member of the Harlem Artists Guild and involved with the Harlem Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. In the late 1930s, she studied in France, Germany and Austria and upon return to the United States, received numerous portrait commissions. In 1940, she opened the Selma Burke School of Sculpture and at age 41 earned her M.F.A. from Columbia University."

Read more about Selma Burke here and here.

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