National Museum of Women in the Arts
Louise Kidder Sparrow
January 01 1884 - July 09 1979
Photograph of Louise Kidder Sparrow standing beside the plaque she sculpted in honor of her husband, Captain Herbert George Sparrow, ca. 1926, unknown photographer. 4 x 5 1/2 inches (10 x 14 cm). The Louise Kidder Sparrow papers, 1839-1965. The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
loo-EEZ KIH-duhr SPAIR-oh
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Active Dates:
1914 - 1979
Work Type/Media:
Artistic Role(s):
Bronze Worker, Marble Worker, Portraitist, Sculptor
Artist's Biography:
Born in 1884 in Malden, Massachusetts, Louise Kidder Sparrow did not begin her professional artistic career until age thirty. During her youth, she traveled to Europe where she studied drawing and watercolor in France and Rome with Bella Pratt, Frederick W. Allen, and Eric Paper. She continued her studies in 1906 at the Thompson-Baldasseroni School of Travel in Boston and in 1909 married Navy Captain Herbert G. Sparrow with whom she spent more than two years in Rio de Janeiro while he served as Naval Attaché at the American Embassy. From 1915 to 1916, Sparrow took her first classes in sculpting at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, and continued her studies from 1916 to 1919 at the Boston Art Museum.

In 1924, after the death of her husband, Sparrow began focussing on her professional career as a sculptor after having achieved early recognition for her sculptural portraits in plaster and marble. She received numerous commissions for busts of prominent senators and military leaders and also produced more imaginative works including allegorical portraits. Sparrow frequently participated in exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her skill in rendering lifelike portraits earned her extensive renown, and critics often compared her work to that of Michelangelo. During the 1930s, Sparrow spoke openly regarding her contempt for the false modesty of those who sought to place a ban on nudity and those that insisted her nude sculptures be covered or dressed.

In 1940, Sparrow married Paul E. H. Gripon. Although her career as a sculptor slowed, she continued writing poetry, publishing the last of more than twelve volumes shortly before her death in 1979.

Other Occupation(s):
Author, Editor, Poet
Place(s) of Residence:
Rio de Janeiro
Where Trained/Schools:
Boston Art Museum, Boston, MA, USA (ca. 1916 - ca.1919) Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, USA (1915 - 1916) Thompson-Baldasseroni School of Travel, Rome, Italy (1906)
Related Visual Artists:
student of Henry Coleman student of Henry K. Bush-Brown student of Ulric S. Dunbar student of Frederick W. Allen student of Bela Pratt student of Eric Paper student of Francesco Baldasseroni student of Mr. Messner
Fellowships, grants and awards:
DiplĂ´me d'Honneur, Exposition Coloniale Internationale, Paris, France (1931) Sculpture Medal, Society of Washington Artists, Washington, DC, USA (1930) Fellow, Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, London, England (1940)
Earliest exhibition:
Thirty-sixth Annual Exhibition, Society of Washington Artists, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA (1927)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997
Artist retrospective(s):
Related places
Washington (died at)