Those who created the Lost Cause narrative used cultural and social centers of power to make it successful: education, media, politics, money, religion, and violence. Sculpting History at the Valentine Studio: Art, Power, and the “Lost Cause” American Myth uses evidence to show how Edward Valentine, leaders in Richmond, and others around the country reframed the reality of the Civil War. It uncovers the stories behind the Lost Cause, its legacy, and those who resisted the myth.
The Valentine closed the studio in 2020 and spent three years working with the community to determine how the space should serve the needs of the Richmond region and beyond. Surveys, focus groups, programming, and conversations reflected the desire to explore the history of the Lost Cause myth, racial oppression, power, and public art.
Opening in January 2024, Sculpting History uses artworks sculpted by Edward Valentine as well as documents, objects, images, quotations, and questions to connect the Lost Cause myth to today. A powerful multimedia presentation reveals links between the Lost Cause campaign, Edward Valentine, and Richmond’s monuments. Guests are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences and share their vision of the future.
The Valentine Studio is located in the museum’s garden.
Essay: An in-depth look at Edward Valentine's artistic and museum pursuits.
Essay: Edward Valentine’s artist’s studio first served as a carriage house with stable and bath for Thomas Green. Valentine acquired the structure in 1871 and converted it into his studio, where he worked for nearly 50 years.
Essay: Edward Valentine (1838-1930) was a Richmond sculptor and brother of the founder of the Valentine Museum. Best known for his busts and statues of Confederate soldiers, his three sculptures of Black Richmonders are a disturbing subset of his work that express the explicit racism of the 1860s and 1870s.
A Quick Look: Edward Virginius Valentine was a sculptor and former president of the Valentine Museum. His art spread the Lost Cause myth created after the Civil War.
A Quick Look: For thirty-nine years, Edward V. Valentine created some of his most well-known sculptures in the carriage house turned studio at 809 East Leigh Street in Richmond.
Essay: The Valentine Museum opened in Richmond on November 21, 1898. Fifty years earlier, museum founder Mann Satterwhite Valentine II (1824-1892) noted: “Today I thought of procuring relics of all places dear to my memory.”