Skip to main content

Wendt, Julia Bracken (1871–1942)

Wendt, Julia Bracken (1871–1942)

One of the leading women sculptors of the American West. Born Julia Bracken in Apple River, Illinois, on June 10, 1871; died in Los Angeles, California, in 1942; daughter of Andrew Bracken and Mary Bracken; attended the Art Institute of Chicago, 1887, and studied with Lorado Taft, 1887–92; married William Wendt (b. 1865, an artist), on June 26, 1906.

Major works:

Illinois Welcoming the Nations (1893) and The Three Graces: History, Science and Art (1914).

Julia Bracken Wendt was born into a large Irish Catholic family in 1871 in Apple River, Illinois, and moved with her parents to Galena in 1876. Her career began at 17, when she started work as one of Lorado Taft's female assistants, a group known as the "White Rabbits" which included other noted female sculptors Bessie Potter Vonnoh and Janet Scudder . Wendt worked with Taft for six years, making a name for herself as an independent artist in Chicago. In 1893, she was commissioned for a sculpture at the Illinois Pavilion at the Chicago World's Fair. She produced Illinois Welcoming the Nations, which was placed in the state capitol in Springfield.

Julia left Chicago in 1906 after her marriage to famous California painter William Wendt. They moved to Los Angeles and then to an art colony in Laguna Beach where they built a studio. Julia Wendt's sculptures in bronze, wood, and marble made her one of the more famous figures in the California art community, particularly her series of relief portraits of famous men of the century such as Tolstoy, Emerson, Lincoln, and William Morris. In 1911, she was commissioned to create one of her best-known pieces, an allegory sculpture for the rotunda of the Los Angeles County Museum called The Three Graces: History, Science and Art. Completed in 1914, the 11'-tall sculpture depicts three women in bronze holding aloft a globe illumined by electric light. It was the centerpiece of the rotunda for years until it was completely hidden by another exhibit in the 1950s. However, it was returned to a central place in the museum in the 1980s. Among the many honors Wendt received was a gold medal for sculpture at the 1915 San Diego Exposition. She also taught at the Otis Art Institute from 1918 to 1925. One of the most important Los Angeles sculptors of her day, Wendt died in 1942.


Bailey, Brooke. The Remarkable Lives of 100 Women Artists. Holbrook, MA: Bob Adams, 1994.

Rubinstein, Charlotte Streifer. American Women Artists. NY: Avon, 1982.

Amy Cooper , M.A., M.S.I., Ann Arbor, Michigan

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Wendt, Julia Bracken (1871–1942)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . 16 Oct. 2018 <>.

"Wendt, Julia Bracken (1871–1942)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . (October 16, 2018).

"Wendt, Julia Bracken (1871–1942)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 16, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.