Evelyn Beatrice Longman

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Evelyn Beatrice Longman
Evelyn Beatrice Longman.jpg
Longman circa 1904
Born November 21, 1874
Winchester, Ohio
Died March 10, 1954(1954-03-10) (aged 79)
Osterville, Massachusetts
Spouse Nathaniel Horton Batchelder (m. 1920)
Field Sculpture
Training Olivet College
Art Institute of Chicago
Elected Member of the National Academy of Design (1919)

Evelyn Beatrice Longman (November 21, 1874 – March 10, 1954) was the first woman sculptor to be elected a full member of the National Academy of Design in 1919. Her allegorical figure works were commissioned as monuments and memorials, adornment for public buildings, and attractions at art expositions in early 20th-century America.

Early life and education[edit]

The daughter of Edwin Henry and Clara Delitia (Adnam) Longman, she was born on a farm near Winchester, Ohio. At the age of 14, she earned a living working in a Chicago dry-goods store.[1] At the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, which she visited when she was almost 19 years old, Longman was inspired to become a sculptor. She attended Olivet College in Michigan for one year but returned to Chicago to study anatomy, drawing, and sculpture. Working under Lorado Taft at the Art Institute of Chicago, she earned her diploma for the four-year course of study in only two years.

In 1901, Longman moved to New York, where she studied with Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Daniel Chester French. Her debut in large-scale public sculpture came at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where her male figure, Victory, was deemed so excellent in invention and technique that it was given a place of honor on the top of the Fair's centerpiece building, Festival Hall. Recently, a smaller Bronze version, a statuette dated 1903, was located and in 2007 was sold at auction for $7,800—a small price for a piece representing the hallmark of a celebrated sculptor.[2]

Career[edit]

Longman's 1915 Genius of Electricity, a gilded male nude, was commissioned by AT&T Corporation for the top of their corporate headquarters in downtown Manhattan. The figure was reproduced on Bell Telephone directories across the country from 1938 until the 1960s. Around 1920, Longman assisted Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon by creating some of the sculptural decorations for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 1923, she won the Watrous Gold Medal for best sculpture.

She is also often noted for sculpting the hands on the Lincoln Memorial, although this is not confirmed to be true. She assisted with many aspects of the Lincoln Memorial, but French himself modeled the hands.

In 1918, she was hired by Nathaniel Horton Batchelder, the Headmaster of the Loomis Chaffee School, to sculpt a memorial to his late wife. Two years later she married Batchelder, moving to Connecticut at the height of her career. During the next 30 years, Longman completed dozens of commissions, both architectural and independent works, throughout the United States. She was an active member of the Loomis Chaffee School, donating countless items that are currently held still at the school as well as in the surrounding town.

After her husband's retirement, Evelyn moved her studio to Cape Cod, where in 1954 she died as one of the most respected and honored sculptors in American history.

It is rumored that after her death, her husband scattered her ashes at Chesterwood, the home and studio of her former employer and mentor, Daniel Chester French.

Major works[edit]

Other works[edit]

In 1920, Longman carved the marble fountain in the lobby of the Heckscher Museum of Art. The young grandchildren of August Heckscher posed for the three small figures that serve as its focal point. An inscription around the rim reads, "Forever wilt thou love and they be fair."

An example of her work, The Craftsman, also known as Industry can be seen outside the main entrance of A. I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford, Connecticut (formerly known as Hartford Trade School). The statue, completed in 1931, was placed there in 1960 in honor of the industrial pioneers of Hartford. Sitting on a 16,000 pound granite foundation, the approximately 1,950 pound bronze sculpture remains an inspiration to students today.

Honors and awards[edit]

Evelyn Longman Batchelder was inducted into the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame in 1994.

Noted relative[edit]

Longman's niece was the noted Canadian portrait and landscaper painter Mildred Valley Thornton as related on her maternal line.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Proske, Beatrice Gilman, Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture, Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, 1943 p. 137
  2. ^ "Evelyn Beatrice Longman". Fine Art May 2007. Rago Arts and Auction Center. 

Sources[edit]