Elie Nadelman (1882-1946)
Elie Nadelman (1882-1946)
Elie Nadelman (1882-1946)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller
Elie Nadelman (1882-1946)

Seated Woman with Raised Arm (Circus Woman)

Elie Nadelman (1882-1946)
Seated Woman with Raised Arm (Circus Woman)
bronze with brown patina
47 in. high (119.4 cm.)
Modeled circa 1926-27; cast in 1965.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1965.
Estate of the above, 1979.
Acquired by the late owners from the above, 1980.
L. Kirstein, The Sculpture of Elie Nadelman, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1948, pp. 9, 39, 62, no. 28, galvano-plastique example illustrated (as Circus Woman).
L. Kirstein, Elie Nadelman, New York, 1973, p. 299, no. 125, galvano-plastique example referenced.
H. Herrera, "Elie Nadelman at Zabriskie," Art in America, vol. 62, May-June 1974, p. 104, another example referenced.
“Vice-Presidential Mansion,” Architectural Digest, vol. 32, March-April 1976, p. 138, illustrated.
W.S. Lieberman, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection: Masterpieces of Modern Art, New York, 1981, p. 103, illustrated (as Circus Woman).
J. Barnitz, et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Art of the Western Hemisphere, vol. II, New York, 1988, pp. 172-74, no. 86, illustrated.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc., Elie Nadelman: A Major Exhibition of Sculpture, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1996, no. 11, galvano-plastique example illustrated.
P. Keobandith, Elie Nadelman: Les années parisiennes 1904-1914, exhibition catalogue, Paris, France, 1998, pp. 50-51, another example illustrated.
C. Nadelman, "Plastiques Fantastiques," Elie Nadelman: Galvano Plastiques, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2001, pl. 6, galvano-plastique example illustrated.
B. Haskell, Elie Nadelman: Sculptor of Modern Life, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2003, pp. 2, 164, fig. 186, galvano-plastique example illustrated.
L. Rotmil, Elie Nadelman, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2017, pp. 16-17, fig. 15, galvano-plastique example illustrated.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Twentieth Century Art from the Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Collection, May 28-September 1, 1969, pp. 32, 70, 134, illustrated (as Circus Woman, II).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, The Sculpture and Drawings of Elie Nadelman, September 23, 1975-February 15, 1976, pp. 10, 82, no. 75 (as Seated Female Figure).
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Lot Essay

In the mid-1920s, Elie Nadelman experimented with large-scale sculpture of female figures in a variety of gestural poses, which make "these figures appear to have been caught in moments of private self-absorption, oblivious to the world outside themselves." The purposely mysterious aura of Nadelman's work from this period, including Seated Woman with Raised Arm (Circus Woman), is enhanced by their "softened contours and indistinct facial demarcations...With their great, strong thighs and exaggeratedly small feet, they project a monumentality at once vulnerable and self-contained." (B. Haskell, Elie Nadelman: Sculptor of Modern Life, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2003, pp. 157-58, 161)

Nadelman originally cast Seated Woman with Raised Arm using the galvano-plastique technique of electroplating the surface of plaster with a thin veneer of metal. As Barbara Haskell explains, "The medium appealed to Nadelman because of its potential for unusual finishes and its ability to replicate bronze...He scratched these mottled, alchemical surfaces with a file to evoke the weathered appearance of antiquities and to create an allover surface shimmer." (Elie Nadelman: Sculptor of Modern Life, p. 157)

The artist's estate later authorized casts of Seated Woman with Raised Arm to be produced in bronze with a similar scratched and weathered surface texture. In 1965, two casts were produced at Roman Bronze Works, including the present work at the behest of Nelson Rockefeller. In the mid-1980s, a third bronze of the model was cast at Bedi-Makky and exhibited in the garden of the residence of the U.S. Ambassador in London as part of the Department of State's Art in Embassies program.

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