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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Happened to the Vampire?

In 1910,American born sculptor, Kuhne Beveridge , shocked the art world with a sculpture of a prostrate male and female nude she dubbed "The Vampire". The work was revealed in Germany, not known for its reserve in modern artistic style. The work was described in almost psychological terms - not strange in the land of Freud - that vampires were not bats or mythic creatures at all. "Are not Carnegie and Rockefeller financial vampires?"......of all the vampires, love, she claimed was the worst....

Beveridge was the daughter of a one-time Illinois Governor and had gained attention with her work in the early 1890's. She had been a pupil of Rodin in Paris. In 1893 she had married Charles E. Coglan in Marion Co., Ind. Later she was to learn he was already married with a family and divorced him. She married again to a Mr. Branson and resided in South Africa. Her step-father was a British aristocrat. Mention is made of her works "Veiled Venus" and the "Rough Riders", but the "Vampire" seems to have disappeared from mention. No image of the once scandalous work seem to be easily available.

Avant-garde her opinions were in 1910, but they are an eerie- and early- echo of more recent works by psychologists concerning the "psychic vampires". What happened to the statue- an apparent masterpiece by an unique and insightful artist - that caused such a fuhrer in 1910 Berlin? Lost? Destroyed? In a private collection? In an art museum?

("Vampire Stature Shocks Artists". The Oklahoman ( March 13, 1910; pg. 53)
("Women in the Fine Arts" at

1 comment:

  1. There is very little written about Kuhne anymore so it was great to see your piece. I've been doing genealogy research on Kuhne, her sister, parents, etc, intensely for several weeks. Contrary to some reports, she was the grand-daughter of a former IL governor, John L Beveridge; her father was John's son Philo Judson Beveridge who, with his second wife, Daeida Hartell Wilcox, helped establish Hollywood.

    It seems that there are many untruths written about her parents, including bios that don't even mention each other and one in which her mother says that she was a widow when she remarried; the truth is that they divorced so that she could remarry and he remarried several years later. His bio doesn't even mention his first marriage and two daughters. Seems they simply parted and never looked back.

    I've not yet seem an image of this sculpture but did find one of The Veiled Venus, provocative enough in its way, but The Vanmpire sounds even moreso.