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John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art 2018, Part 4: Frederick Douglass, “The Greek Slave,” and the Politics of Sculptural Reproduction

R. Tess Korobkin, PhD candidate, history of art, Yale University, and Ellen Holtzman Fellow, Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art, 2017–2018. The fact that Frederick Douglass, a former slave and an outspoken proponent of abolitionism, owned a statuette of Hiram Powers’s The Greek Slave raises difficult questions. Speaking at the second annual John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on March 23, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art, Tess Korobkin highlights other examples of reproductions of the sculpture in a range of media to more fully explore the layered and sometimes contradictory political materialities of Powers’s work. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.