Amon Carter print details

An American Girl

Bessie Potter Vonnoh (1872-1955)

Object Details

  • Date


  • Object Type


  • Medium

    Tinted plaster

  • Dimensions

    14 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 11 1/2 in.

  • Inscriptions

    Signed, on back of base: Potter

    underneath base: Bessie Potter \ Vonnoh [likely added after 1915]

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchase with funds from the Ruth Carter Stevenson Acquisitions Endowment

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

During the 1890s, Vonnoh began sculpting small-scale portraits of wealthy Chicago women. Modeled in clay and cast in plaster, these statuettes, which she called “Potterines,” drew widespread praise for their vigorous modeling, intricate drapery, and lifelike compositions. Vonnoh excelled in conveying spontaneity through gesture and pose—one critic described her plasters as “instantaneous photographs in clay of ever graceful people”—and her figures often appear to converse with someone outside the composition.

Portraying wealthy White Americans, Vonnoh’s statuettes reinforce her era’s prevailing norms and expectations for femininity. The generic title of this work situates the figure as more than a portrait of a specific person; she appears as an archetype of ideal dress, comportment, and temperament.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)

Additional details

Location: On view
See more by Bessie Potter Vonnoh


Educator Resources
  • How have the roles of women changed in the United States over time?

    In what ways might the place of display impact the meaning and reception of a work of art?

    What roles can art play in the everyday lives of people?

    Why might an artist choose to create a work of art with materials that are readily available? Why might they choose materials that are more rare or costly?

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