Honoured in Italy.
The unveiling at Formia, Italy, recently of a war memorial erected by the city to Italy's soldiers who fell in the war would pass unnoticed at this distance from
the event, were it not that an Australian sculptress, now resident at Rome, was entrusted with the work of designing the memorial. The artist was Miss Dora Ohlfsen, who, in carrying out the work, gained the enviable honour of being the only womnn in Italy to design a war memorial, and the first foreigner permitted to under- take such a work. Moreover, she pro-
bably is the first woman alien to whom has been bestowed the privilege of the freedom of a foreign city, that honour hav- ing been conferred upon her by the city of Formia, as a tribute to the excellence of her work. Miss Ohlfsen has had an interesting and picturesque career. Born at Ballarat, Victoria, she went with her parents to Sydney, where her father built, among other works, the Bondi sewer. She was educated at Sydney High School, and her early tastes ran to music, with such pro- mising prospects of success that she was sent to Berlin to complete her studies, and there became a pupil of Moritz Moszkow- ski, the composer. A nervous breakdown —the outcome, as she herself has described it of "overwork and too little money"— induced her to make a visit to Russia, where her talent for sculpture was dis- covered, and she turned her steps to Rome to study. The French Academy there— which is exclusively reserved for French artists who obtain the Prix di Rome, and was founded by Louis XIV.—honoured her with an invitation to become a pupil. Hard work followed under some famous masters in painting, sculpture, and engrav-
ing in medals. Next a period of study in painting at the Spanish Academy at Rome. For a portrait medallion of Gabrielle d'Annunzio, poet, and patriot, which she designed in 1910, and which was placed by request of the city of Paris, with a collection of other medals, in the Museum of the Petit Palais, Paris, for the Hundred Year Exhibition, Miss Ohlfsen received what the French term "immortality." The excellence of her medallion work may be judged from the "Anzac" medal, which was designed when on a visit to her native country, and the sale of which materially helped the fund for our war- stricken soldiers. In the last few years the gifted Aus- tralian has devoted herself exclusively to larger sculpture, but her work so far— except for the Anzac medal, her own con- ception, and gift to the nation—has never been sought after in the country of her birth. Italy is conservative in its art, and the designing of war memorials and statu- ary has heretofore been a jealously pre- served right of the Italian born. But Miss Ohlfsen's art studies, having been wholly in Italy, her work has come to be regarded as exclusively Italian, which ex- plains the exception made when her For- mia design was accepted, and is a tribute also to the quality of her work. The Formia memorial was unveiled in July last, and carries the title of "Sacri- fice." The accompanying illustration will give an idea of the magnitude and charac- ter of the work. The height of the monu- ment is 30 feet, and the marble figure at the base represents the grief of the citi- zens of Formia for their fallen war heroes. The inscription, translated into English, reads:—"O, my country! The life thou gave me I return to thee."
MISS DORA OHLFSEN,
MISS DORA OHLFSEN,