A sculptor known for her depictions of graceful, serene, female figures with gently sweeping garments, Bessie Vonnoh became one of the female assistant's to Lorado Taft with a group nicknamed the "White Rabbits."  They assisted him with large-scale pieces at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair Exhibition.

Vonnoh was born in St. Louis, Missouri and moved with her family to Chicago where at age twenty one, she enrolled in Taft's sculpture class at the Art Institute of Chicago.  At the World's Fair, she was much influenced by the small bronze figures of Russian sculptor Paul Troubetzkoy, and after the Fair, she began doing her own small bronze figures, which became very popular.

Encouraged by Taft, she went to Paris in 1895, and on her return, sculpted her much sought after work, The Young Mother, which was exhibited in 1976 as part of the Whitney Museum's Bicentennial sculpture show.

In 1899, she married painter Robert Vonnoh, and they lived in New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut.  She continued to sculpt, and in 1913 had a one-woman show at the Brooklyn Museum.  In the 1920s, she began life-size work including a portrait of James Sherman that is in the United States Capitol building.  In 1921, she was elected an Academician of the National Academy of Design.  She died at age eighty-three.

American Women Artists by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein

Works by Bessie Onahotema Potter Vonnoh