Mrs. Richard L. Vinnie Ream (1847 - 1914)

Birth date: 1847 Death date: 1914  
Birth location: Death location:  
Media: Sculpture Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.


Vinnie Ream Hoxie

Born 1847 in Madison, Wisconsin

Died 1914 in Washington, D.C.

Vinnie Ream Hoxie was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1847, the daughter of a surveyor.  Although she was born in the Wisconsin wilderness and grew up among the Indians, she achieved her fame doing neo-classical realist portrait sculptures of American politicians and military leaders. 

Her academic schooling was at the Columbia Christian College in Missouri.  In 1861 Vinnie’s family moved to Washington D.C. where she worked as a postal clerk for a few years until she began personal art instruction with American sculptor, Clark Mills.  Under Mills’ tutelage, she became skilled in clay, plaster cast and bronze cast.  She developed a life-long trademark on her work, which was a garland wreath of flowers.

Ream Hoxie was best known for her statue of Abraham Lincoln (1870), which is housed in the capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.  While still a teenage girl, she had President Lincoln sit for a clay portrait.  Shortly after he was assassinated and the U.S. Senate established a $10,000 commission for a posthumous portrait of President Lincoln.  She was the first woman and youngest artist ever to receive such a commission.  In 1868, she went to Rome to have her clay original carved in marble.

From 1868 - 1870, while in Europe, she studied drawing in Paris with Leon Bonnat, visited Vienna, Munich and Florence and while in Rome, trained with Italian sculptor, Leon Majoli.  During her stay in Rome, she also met with American Renaissance sculptors, Randolph Rogers, William Reinhart, William Wetmore Story and Harriet Hosmer in an effort to establish the neo- classicism movement.

In 1870 with her completion of “The West”, an allegorical figure from the series, “The Directions” emerged a realization of her mature, romanticized American style.  In 1875, Hoxie received a $20,000 commission from the Farragut family to do the Admiral Farragut Memorial in Washington, D.C.  At this time, through her connections with the Farragut family, Vinnie Ream met Richard Hoxie, an army engineer whom she married in 1881. 

In 1913, she completed a sculpture of Governor Samuel Kirkwood of Iowa during the Civil War.  In 1914, while working on a commission of Cherokee linguist, Sequoya, from the state of Oklahoma, Vinnie Ream Hoxie died at age 67 of a kidney ailment.  She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery beside her husband Brigadier General Hoxie.  The Sequoya commission was later completed by sculptor, George Zolnay.


American Women Artists by Charlotte Streefer Rubinstein

Famous Wisconsin Women, volume 6, by Ruth DeYoung Kohler

Labor of Love, The Life and Art of Vinnie Ream by Glenn V. Sherwood

© 10/23/2007 Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin                                                              6/2/2010

Wisconsin Affiliations

Wisconsin Art Organizations

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