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Sea Lion (Seal) [LF 16/LF 222]

Lachaise, G.
Sea Lion (Seal) [LF 16/LF 222]
inscribed 'G. LACHAISE' and '©/1921' (on the base)—inscribed 'ROMAN BRONZE WORKS N-Y-' (along the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
11 ½ in. (29.2 cm.) high
Modeled circa 1914-17; cast circa 1921-26.
C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York.
William J. Lynch, New York, by 1930.
Michael Fitzgerald, New York, by bequest from the above.
Private collection, by descent from the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2007.
Bourgeois Galleries, Exhibition of Sculptures and Drawings by Gaston Lachaise, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1918, no. 26, another example referenced.
"Galleries Display Great Variety of New Work," New York Herald, February 17, 1918, 3rd section, p. 8, another example referenced.
E.W. Powell, "In Art Studios and Galleries," The Evening Mail, February 23, 1918, p. 6, another example referenced.
“Exhibition at Brooklyn Museum," Bulletin of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, vol. 22, no. 13, April 12, 1919, p. 197, another example illustrated.
Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Special Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture Illustrating Wild Life in Art, exhibition catalogue, Brooklyn, New York, 1919, p. 15, no. 91, another example referenced.
Catalogue of Copyright Entries, pt. 4, n.s. vol. 16, no. 1, Washington, D.C., 1922, p. 22, the work referenced.
C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, Important Collection of Paintings and Bronzes by Modern Masters of American & European Art, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1922, no. 3, an unidentified example referenced.
A.E. Gallatin, "Gaston Lachaise," The Arts, vol. 3, no. 6, June 1923, pp. 398, 402, an unidentified example illustrated.
A.E. Gallatin, Gaston Lachaise, New York, 1924, pp. 14, 51, pl. 16, an unidentified example illustrated.
C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, An Illustrated Catalogue of an Important Collection of Paintings, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1924, no. 32, an unidentified example referenced.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 19, no. 8, August 1924, p. 203, another example referenced.
The Arts Club of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Catalogue of an Exhibition of Original Sculpture by Gaston Lachaise, exhibition catalogue, Chicago, Illinois, 1925, no. 14, an unidentified example referenced.
Albright Art Gallery, Catalog of Exhibitions Commemorating the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Opening of the Albright Art Gallery, exhibition catalogue, Buffalo, New York, 1930, p. 24, no. 15, an unidentified example referenced.
D. Phillips, The Artist Sees Differently, New York, 1932, vol. 2, pl. CCVIII, another example illustrated.
M. Breuning, "Modern Museum Holds ...: Sculpture by Lachaise …," New York Post, February 2, 1935, unidentified examples referenced.
The Whitney Museum and its Collection, New York, 1954, another example referenced.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gaston Lachaise, 1882-1935, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles, California, 1963, no. 16, another example illustrated.
The Sculpture of Gaston Lachaise, New York, 1967, p. 48, no. 25, another example illustrated.
D.B. Goodall, “Gaston Lachaise, Sculptor,” Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 389-396, 416n114; vol. 2, pp. 133, 134, 482, pl. LXI, other examples referenced and another illustrated.
Whitney Museum of American Art, Catalogue of the Collection, New York, 1975, p. 191, another example referenced.
The Phillips Collection in the Making 1920-1930, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1979, p. 83, no. 171, another example referenced.
M. Phillips, Duncan Phillips and His Collection, New York, 1982, p. 320, another example referenced.
P. Sims, Gaston Lachaise: A Concentration of Works from the Permanent Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1980, pp. 14-15, 32, another example illustrated.
Palm Springs Desert Museum, Gaston Lachaise: 100th Anniversary Exhibition, Sculpture and Drawings, exhibition catalogue, Palm Springs, California, 1982, pp. 20, 33, no. 11, another example illustrated.
J. Holverson, Gaston Lachaise: Sculpture & Drawings, exhibition catalogue, Portland, Maine, 1984, no. 21, p. 34, another example referenced.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, American Art: A Catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection, Los Angeles, California, 1991, p. 410, another example illustrated.
The Eye of Duncan Phillips: A Collection in the Making, Washington, D. C., 1999, p. 412, another example referenced.
When Modern was Contemporary: The Roy R. Neuberger Collection, Purchase, New York, 2014, p. 238, another example referenced.
V. Budny, New York’s Left Bank: Art and Artists Off Washington Square North, 1900-1950, New York, 2006, p. 31, another example illustrated.
J. Day, J. Stenger, K. Eremin, N. Khandekar, V. Budny, Gaston Lachaise: Characteristics of His Bronze Sculpture, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012, pp. 30, 56-57n45, 65, 66nk, 68, 68nj, other examples referenced.
Santa Fe, New Mexico; New York, Gerald Peters Gallery, Works by Gaston Lachaise: A Modern Epic Vision, August 10-December 21, 2012, pl. 43, illustrated.
New York, Park Avenue Armory, Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, LLC, Gaston Lachaise: For Love of Woman, May 5-9, 2016, pp. 6, 7, 13n19, 28, 29, fig. 9, illustrated.

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Paige Kestenman Vice President, Specialist

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Lot Essay

We are grateful to Virginia Budny, author of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné sponsored by the Lachaise Foundation, for her assistance in preparing the catalogue entry for this work.

The present sculpture of a magnificent sea lion expresses Lachaise’s great love of wild creatures, and it exemplifies his profound desire to communicate a vision of fundamental force—his principal theme from about 1910 onward. The work likely represents the young, 300-pound Stellar sea lion from the Bering Sea that arrived at the Bronx Zoological Park on July 7, 1914 (New York Times, July 11, 1914, p. 16). Soon afterward, Lachaise, who was living and working in New York City's Greenwich Village, visited the Zoo, where he saw the seals (and presumably the new sea lion, with its distinctive fliippers). The following day, on August 2, he wrote to his lover Isabel Dutaud Nagle of his exciting experiences, noting: "It's extraordinary the mind, the personality, the character of animals and plants." (Gaston Lachaise collection, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library).

Very possibly, the model for Sea Lion was begun shortly after this trip. The first bronze cast of the work bears a copyright date of 1917 (to be emphasized, for Lachaise, a copyright date is not also the date of a model or a cast, although it can indicate a terminus for a work). That cast was included in his first solo exhibition in 1918 at the Bourgeois Galleries, New York, under the dealer's fanciful title Nenuphar (“Water Lily”), when it was well received as a “vigorous, solid bit of modelling” (New York Herald, February 17, 1918). It appeared in the following year in a group show at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (now Brooklyn Museum), as Seal. That particular cast was sold in October 1922 by John Kraushaar, Lachaise’s dealer in the 1920s, to Duncan Phillips for the new Phillips Memorial Art Gallery (now The Phillips Collection), Washington, D. C., where it is correctly titled Sea Lion. This first cast has been assigned the identifying number LF 16 by the Lachaise Foundation.

Lachaise’s copyright for the composition was officially registered on February 21, 1921. After a second, unidentified cast had been made at an unknown date, John Kraushaar acquired seven new casts, including the present example; the last of these was made by 1926, and no other casts have been produced (Kraushaar Galleries records, Archives of American Art). The later casts are slightly smaller and more simplified than the first bronze, evidently having been made from that cast, not the original model, and they bear the copyright date of 1921. These casts have been assigned the number LF 222 by the Lachaise Foundation, although they do not significantly differ from the first bronze. According to A.E. Gallatin, Lachaise’s "imposing sea-lion, seen raising his head with a superb gesture above his massive body," is "a masterpiece of stylistic animal interpretation" (Gaston Lachaise, New York, 1924, p. 14). Gallatin's own cast of the work, acquired in 1923, was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1924. Among the casts bearing a copyright date of 1921 are those owned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona, and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY. The artist’s model is lost.

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