All right, so I must admit that this post is less about vegan and more about women. But there is a vegan connection that I will explain below! This museum is one of my favorite places in Austin because it combines some of my most beloved things all in one place: history, art, nature, and independent women. It’s the original studio that Elisabet Ney designed herself in 1892 and named Formosa (Portuguese for “beautiful island”), after her previous home in Madeira.
Ney was born in Germany in 1833. She was the first female sculpture student at the all-male Munich Academy of Art (you go girl). After graduating she moved to Berlin and sculpted portraits for several famous Europeans, including Jacob Grimm (of the Grimm Brothers), philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, Italian military leader Giuseppe Garibaldi, King George V of Hanover, and Ludwig II of Bavaria.
She married Scottish medical student Edmund Montgomery, however, she refused to take his name and often denied even being married (!). She and Edmund immigrated to the United States and eventually settled down in Texas. They purchased a plantation near Houston, but Elisabet decided to build her own studio in Austin, where she lived & worked and occasionally went back to the plantation to see her husband. She had two sons, one whom died very young, and another who is rumored to have joined Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough-riders.