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Grant number like: FEL-267717-20

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Samantha Baskind
Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH 44115-2214)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 5/31/2021

Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917): The Life of a Confederate, Expatriate, Jewish Sculptor

Research and writing of a book on the life and work of the Jewish American sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917).

Largely forgotten today, sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917), a figure with a life story holding drama rivaling that recently brought to light about Alexander Hamilton, was the first Jewish American artist to earn international acclaim. This study will examine the influence of Ezekiel’s singular life on his sculpture, which is imbued with elements of both his Southern and Jewish roots as well as his expatriate experience in Italy. Reciprocally, Ezekiel’s life and art offer access to a range of political, cultural, social, and religious issues crucial to the 19th century and how they intersect with visual culture. These include the aftermath of the Civil War and post-Emancipation race relations, the Jewish American assimilation experience, and radical changes in the art world. Investigation of Ezekiel’s significant body of work addressing the Confederacy is closely tied to the current, very public, and fraught national debate on the place of Confederate monuments on American soil.