Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection
Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935)

Flying Figures (Two Floating Nude Acrobats) [LF 30]

Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935)
Flying Figures (Two Floating Nude Acrobats) [LF 30]
parcel-gilt bronze
7 ¾ in. (19.7 cm.) high on a 8 ½ in. (21.6 cm.) base
Modeled by 1921; cast circa 1921-25.
Vincent Price, Los Angeles, California.
Estate of the above.
Christie's, New York, 26 May 1994, lot 114, sold by the above.
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, Inc., New York, acquired from the above.
Acquired by the late owner from the above, 1995.
Bourgeois Galleries, Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawings by Gaston Lachaise, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1918, nos. 21, 25, individual figures illustrated (as Summer Clouds and Flying Figure).
H.A. Read, "A New Sculptor of Merit," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 17, 1918, sect. 3, p. 6, individual figure referenced (as Summer Clouds).
H. McBride, "Gaston Lachaise, Sculptor," Fine Arts Journal, vol. 36, no. 3, March 1918, p. 54, individual figure illustrated (as Nude).
A.E. Gallatin, Gaston Lachaise: Sixteen Reproductions in Collotype of the Sculptor's Work, New York, 1924, p. 21, another example referenced (as Flying Figures).
"Recent Exhibitions of Modern Sculpture," Junior League Magazine, vol. XV, no. 10, July 1929, p. 29, another example illustrated (as Flying Figures).
A.C. Ritchie, Sculpture of the Twentieth Century, New York, 1952, pp. 20, 102, another example illustrated (as Two Floating Figures).
H. Kramer, The Sculpture of Gaston Lachaise, New York, 1967, p. 49, figs. 28-29, another example illustrated (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
D.B. Goodall, "Gaston Lachaise: Sculptor," Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 85, 232, 256n.86, 310, 402n.9, 465-68, 546n.72; vol. 2, pp. 213-16, 476, pl. C, another example illustrated (as Two Floating Figures).
G. Nordland, Gaston Lachaise: The Man and His Work, New York, 1974, pp. 128-29, fig. 65, another example illustrated (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Gaston Lachaise: Sculpture and Drawings, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1979, pp. 11, 29, no. 11, another example referenced (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
P. Sims, Gaston Lachaise: A Concentration of Works from the Permanent Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art: A 50th Anniversary Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1980, pp. 16-17, another example illustrated (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
D. Ngo, ed., Art + Architecture: The Ebsworth Collection + Residence, San Francisco, California, 2006, n.p., illustrated.
A.J. Eschelbacher, ed., A New American Sculpture, 1914-1945: Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman, and Zorach, exhibition catalogue, New Haven, Connecticut, 2017, pp. 20, 105, 173, pl. 25, another example illustrated (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Gaston Lachaise 1882-1935: Sculpture and Drawings, December 3, 1963-April 5, 1964, n.p., no. 30, illustrated (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
Palm Springs, California, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Gaston Lachaise 100th Anniversary Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawings, 1982, pp. 21, 33, no. 21, illustrated (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art; Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Twentieth-Century American Art: The Ebsworth Collection, March 5-November 12, 2000, pp. 162-64, 289, no. 37, illustrated (as Two Floating Nude Acrobats).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

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Sara Friedlander
Sara Friedlander

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.

Flying Figures expresses one of Gaston Lachaise’s favorite themes: the buoyant female nude as a personification of fundamental force. He created the work by combining two early sculptures of levitating nudes first exhibited individually in 1918--as Summer Clouds and Flying Figure--in his show at the Bourgeois Galleries, New York. According to Lachaise, a bronze cast of Flying Figures was made in 1921, and a second one was produced by 1925. A third appears to have been made by 1930, when Lachaise sold the right to cast three additional bronze groups to Erhard Weyhe of the Weyhe Gallery, New York. By March 1935 those three bronzes had been completed but not yet attached to their bases, and they have not been traced since then.

In the years after Lachaise’s death, three casts, including the present example, have been identified. The present cast decidedly appears be the earliest of these. Bronze casts of each of the individual figures also exist. A cast of the billowy nude (Summer Clouds, LF 30A) now belongs to the Lachaise Foundation. A cast of the more completely outstretched figure (Flying Figure, LF 30B) is now in the collection of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. The plaster model for the first of those two casts was damaged by about 1938 and is currently owned by the Lachaise Foundation; the model for the second was already lost by about 1938.

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