The salons held at Elisabet Ney’s home in Hyde Park as the 19th century drew to a close are still legendary to this day. Socialites, scholars, writers and artists of all stripes gathered near 45th street to discuss the topics that commanded the attention of Texans of that era.

Oh to have been privy to those thought parties where the wine flowed freely as the Colorado.

Ney became famous through her sculpture art, first as a young artist living in Germany, and later as an American émigrée residing in Hempstead, and then Austin, Texas. 20 years of living on a plantation in rural Hempstead, Texas were followed by Ney and husband Edmund Montgomery’s move to Hyde Park, then considered a far, far away place from downtown Austin.

People summered in Hyde Park y’all.

Ney makes the feminists of our modern times look like lollygaggers. A favorite quote: “Women are fools to be bothered with housework. Look at me: I sleep in a hammock which requires no making up. I break an egg and sip it raw. I make lemonade in a glass, and then rinse it, and my housework is done for the day.”

Elisabet Ney wore pants…like a man, which is how she also rode her horse. No shrinking violet, she often denied being married!

Pre-first wave.

You haven’t lived til you’ve seen Ney’s powerhouse sculpture of Lady Macbeth. Gripping.

Tomorrow, June 15th 2013 is Ney Day, and her Formosa studio on 44th street is throwing a party to celebrate the life of this remarkable woman. The fete starts at noon when food trucks Man Bites Dog and Jim Jim’s Water Ice open their windows to feed the crowds.

There will be live music from Austin legend Mark Rubin of Bad Livers-fame, and plenty activities to fuel the revelry. If you have even a passing interest in Austin’s rich art history then attendance is mandatory.

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