Julia Bracken Wendt

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Julia Bracken Wendt
Miss Julia Bracken.JPG
From The Illustrated American, 1893
Julia Bracken

Apple River, Illinois
Laguna Beach, California
EducationArt Institute of Chicago
Known forSculpture
Notable work
Illinois Welcoming the Nations (1893) and The Three Graces: History, Science and Art (1914)[1]
William Wendt (m. 1906)
AwardsGold medal for sculpture at the 1915 San Diego Exposition[1]

Julia Bracken Wendt, (1870–1942) a notable American sculptor, was born in Apple River, Illinois, the twelfth of thirteen children in an Irish Catholic family.[2]

Unsupported at home following the death of her mother when she was nine years old, she ran away from home at thirteen. By sixteen she was working as a domestic servant for a woman who recognized her talent and drive, and paid to enroll her in the Art Institute of Chicago. There she studied with Lorado Taft and by 1887 she had advanced to become his studio and teaching assistant.[3] In 1893, during the Columbian Exposition she was one of several women sculptors nicknamed the White Rabbits who helped produce some of the architectural sculpture that graced the exposition buildings.

Aside from that she was awarded a commission to produce Illinois Welcoming the Nations for the Fair. The work was later cast in bronze and unveiled at the Illinois State Capitol,[4] at which time Governor Altgeld was the main speaker.

After successfully pursuing her career for a number of years, in 1906 she married painter William Wendt and moved to Los Angeles, California where she continued her success.[2] In California she taught at the Otis Art Institute[5] and, with her husband, was instrumental in the founding of the California Art Club in 1909, which was developed on the premise of allowing women and sculptors into the membership.[6]

Wendt was a member of the National Sculpture Society and exhibited and was featured in both the 1923 and 1929 Exhibitions and the resulting catalogues.[7][5]


Her work can be found in:


  1. ^ a b "Wendt, Julia Bracken (1871–1942)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Rubenstein, Charlotte Streifer, ‘’American Women Sculptors: A History of Women Working in Three Dimensions’’, G. K. Hall and Co. Boston, 1990 pp. 105*110
  3. ^ McKay, James, The Dictionary of Sculptors in Bronze, Antique Collectors Club, London, 1995
  4. ^ Taft, Lorado, ‘’The History of American Sculpture’’, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1925 p. 528
  5. ^ a b National Sculpture Society, ‘’Contemporary American Sculpture’’, National Sculpture Society, NY 1929
  6. ^ See Julia Bracken Wendt's response (Open Letter, Los Angeles Times, January 1910) to Antony Anderson's Art and Artists column from December 12, 1909.
  7. ^ National Sculpture Society, ‘’Exhibition of American Sculpture Catalogue’’, National Sculpture Society, NY 1923

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