Crest Of The Wave

Crest Of The Wave
Harriet Whitney Frishmuth
1880-1980
Acquisition Number: 74.31
Medium: bronze
Size: 66" x 16" x 16"
Date: c. 1925

Harriet Whitney Frishmuth was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1880. Her parents divorced when she was in her teens and she moved to Europe with her mother and sisters. She studied briefly with Auguste Rodin in Paris. She then returned to the United States and studied at the Art Students league of New York. Frishmuth’s first commissioned piece was a bas-relief for the New York County Medical Society in 1910. She also modeled ashtrays, bookends, and small figures for the Gorham Manufacturing Company. Her career expanded in time and she became known for her beautiful renderings of females in Bronze, particularly dancers. The model for “Crest of the Wave” was Desha Delteil; Frishmuth used Desha frequently as a model for her work. Her small bronzes were sought by private collectors and museums alike, and her large bronzes often were placed in elaborate garden settings or as the centerpieces of fountains. She exhibited with a group of women artists known as the Philadelphia Ten. One of her last exhibitions was in 1929, though she remained active in the art world for decades afterwards. The Great Depression affected her livelihood; she closed her New York studio in the 1930s and returned to Philadelphia. Frishmuth scorned modern art and was quite outspoken on the subject, calling it “spiritless”; she was equally outspoken in her dislike of the word “sculptress”. At the age of 100 Frishmuth passed away in Waterbury, Connecticut.