How it’s New York: The work was made in New York City by a New York City artist of Irish descent.
How it’s Irish: The sitter was Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish poet, writer and dramatist.
James Edward Kelly (1855 —1933) was born in New York City and grew up during the Civil War, which perhaps caused him to develop a lifelong interest in American history, indeed his sculpture and illustrations specialize in depicting people and events of American wars.
But in 1882 he was commissioned to make a sketch and engraving of Oscar Wilde who was conducting a lecture tour of North America. The image was needed by Wilde’s promoter for publicity while he waited for photographs of Wilde to be ready. Above is the sketch that Kelly produced of Wilde, probably posing with the artist’s son, from which he created a bas-relief in bronze for future prints.
Oscar Wilde In America.
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Copyright 2013 New York Irish Arts