Title of Work
Laura Pope Forester "Mrs. Pope" 1
Date of Work
Super 8 film
Art & Design Study Collection: James Smith Pierce Film Collection
Stored: JSP.FAST.FILM BOX 1
UND Art Collections Repository
Born in Brooklyn, New York, James Smith Pierce received his PhD in art history from Harvard University. During his career as a professor, Pierce also became an accomplished artist, whose artworks were included in important exhibitions (including a show on land art at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC) and books on contemporary earthworks and site-specific sculpture. Pierce was also a photographer, exhibition curator, and art collector.
About Laura Pope Forester (Mrs. Pope):
Laura Pope Forester-nee Atkinson was born on January 31, 1873 in Thomas County, Georgia. Growing up, she learned how to work with clay and natural dyes from her mother.
Pope created her first life-sized sculpture in 1900. Many of her sculpture incorporated found objects and were colored with dyes she created herself from various plants. The majority of her works were sculptures of different iconic women either from history or pop culture such as Scarlet O’Hara, Cleopatra, and Nancy Hart. Berfore her passing in 1953, Pope created around 200 sculptures, several wall-to-wall murals, and vast decorative gardens, most of which were located in and around her estate. Despite never formally exhibiting her work, Mrs. Pope was recognized by various newspapers and institutions such as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Magazine. In 2021 she was posthumously inducted to the Georgia Women of Achievement hall of fame.
After her death, Pope’s 1,600 acre estate was kept within her family until it was sold in 1974, after which many of her works were destroyed. Upon coming into possession of its current owners Dan and Michelle Dean in 1995, steps were taken to restore and preserve Pope’s remaining works around the estate and a nonprofit was created to help aid in this undertaking. The estate eventually became what is now known as Mrs. Pope’s Museum. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for art, recreation, leisure, and women’s history. The museum is currently not open to the public but tours may be made upon request.
Black spot on film. Digitally preserved 2021.
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