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Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)
EUROPEAN SCULPTURE FROM THE HARRY W. AND MARY MARGARET ANDERSON COLLECTION
Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)

Tête

Details
Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)
Tête
signed, numbered and marked with the artist's thumbprint 'JLipchitz 6/7' (on the back)
bronze with green and brown patina
Height: 24 in. (61 cm.)
Conceived in 1915 and cast by 1968
Provenance
Marlborough Gallery, Inc., New York (acquired from the artist, by 1968).
Acquired from the above by the present owners, 1972.
Literature
C. Zervos, Histoire de l'art contemporain, Paris, 1938, p. 305 (stone version illustrated; dated 1916).
J. Assou, "Contemporary Sculptors: v–Lipchitz" in Horizon, December 1946, vol. 14, p. 377.
M. Raynal, Jacques Lipchitz, Paris, 1947, pp. 12-13 (stone version illustrated).
H. Devree, "Artist's Evolution: The Development of Jacques Lipchitz–Newcomers beyond the Hudson" in The New York Times, 6 May 1951.
M. Seuphor, La sculpture de ce sie'cle: Dictionnaire de la sculpture moderne, Neuchâtel, 1959, p. 22 (another cast illustrated).
A.M. Hammacher, Jacques Lipchitz: His Sculpture, New York, 1961, p. 21 (another cast illustrated).
H. Read, A Concise History of Modern Sculpture, London, 1964, p. 75, no. 75 (another cast illustrated).
B. van Bork, Lipchitz: The Artist at Work, New York, 1966, pp. 115-119 (another cast illustrated in situ).
P. Wittlich, J. Lipchitz, Prague, 1966 (another cast illustrated).
H.H. Arnason, Jacques Lipchitz: Sketches in Bronze, New York, 1969, p. 6 (another cast illustrated, p. 8, fig. 2).
D. Cooper, The Cubist Epoch, New York, 1970, p. 297 (another cast illustrated, p. 250, pl. 304).
J. Lipchitz, The Documents of 20th Century Art: My Life in Sculpture, New York, 1972, p. 33 (another cast illustrated, p. 35, fig. 25).
A.M. Hammacher, Jacques Lipchitz, New York, 1975, p. 37 (another cast illustrated, p. 33, pl. 26).
D.A. Stott, Jacques Lipchitz and Cubism, New York, 1975, p. 68 (another cast illustrated, p. 273, fig. 3).
P. Daix, Cubists and Cubism, New York, 1982, p. 113.
H.H. Arnason, History of Modern Art, New York, 1986, p. 167 (another cast illustrated, p. 170, fig. 235).
A.G. Wilkinson, The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz: A Catalogue Raisonné, The Paris Years, 1910-1940, London, 1996, vol. 1, p. 215, no. 35 (another cast illustrated, p. 42).
J. Fischer, "Paint the Town" in San Jose Mercury News, 7 October 2000, p. 6F.
S. Staggs, "All in Two Places" in ANG Newspapers, 20 October 2000, Preview Section, p. 19.
C. Pütz, Jacques Lipchitz: The First Cubist Sculptor, London, 2002, p. 14, fig. 9 (another cast illustrated, p. 16).
K. de Barañano, Jacques Lipchitz: The Plasters, A Catalogue Raisonné, 1911-1973, Bilbao, 2009, p. 100, no. 30 (plaster version illustrated; another cast illustrated, p. 101).
Exhibited
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Cubist Prints/Cubist Books, September-December 1984.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection, October 2000-January 2001, p. 373, no. 166 (illustrated in color, p. 268, pl. 151).

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Brooke Lampley
Brooke Lampley

Lot Essay

Ostensibly composed in an austerely abstract manner, Lipchitz’s Tête of 1915 nonetheless powerfully, monolithically, evokes the human visage. The sculptor’s successful resolution in this work of these contradictory tendencies made it a key development in the evolution of his early cubist modernism. “Lipchitz’s Head is a complete, ‘organic’ entity,” Catherine Pütz has written, “seamlessly integrating material and content. It recalls human features and the proportions of a face, but in its expressiveness it is independent from the known, human world. It is a new object unlike any we have previously seen” (Jacques Lipchitz: The First Cubist Sculptor, London, 2002, p. 16).
Lipchitz was then only 24 years old. During the previous year his friendship with Picasso had converted him to Cubism. In a flush of enthusiasm, Lipchitz quickly went on to create sculptures that displayed a rigorously architectural interpretation of synthetic cubist syntax, emphasizing extreme verticality and layered rectangular planes. The resultant constructed sculptures had the appearance of mechanical devices; their rising, elongated forms reminded some of Gothic cathedrals. “I carried my findings all the way to abstraction,” Lipchitz wrote. He became worried, however, that “I had lost the sense of the subject, of its humanity, I had gone too far.” Such was the state of his concern that during the summer of 1915 the sculptor experienced “a kind of emotional crisis...I felt for a time I had lost my way” (My Life in Sculpture, New York, 1972, p. 26).
“Of the greatest importance in clarifying my ideas about subject and form in 1915 was the Head,” Lipchitz declared. “This was made after the moment of my emotional crisis, when I felt that in my exploration of abstract shapes I had lost sight of the human element, the relation to nature that has always been so necessary for me. In fact, the work was probably more than any other the means of bringing me out of this moment of despair. It is really a very simple structure, obviously in the same vein as the abstract architectural works that preceded and followed it. There is a large, vertical-rectangular mass that rises up the back of the head and then comes down in front as the forehead and nose. This rectangular plane is bisected almost at right angles by another plane that suggests the face diminishing at the bottom to form the neck and rising in a frontal curve to suggest the protruding line of the eyebrows. There is even an implication of the eyes in the shadows created under this protruding ridge. This is, then, clearly, a human head with even a feeling of monumental dignity. Yet the entire effect is achieved essentially by two interlocking sculptural planes” (ibid., pp. 33-34)
“With this work I entered into a period almost of euphoria,” Lipchitz continued. “I knew that I had discovered something, that I was on the right road to the realization of a kind of sculpture in which I had complete control of the vocabulary of cubist forms in the creation of works where the human subject or idea was uppermost... Now I had the balance between the non-figurative form and figuration for which I was unconsciously seeking” (ibid., p. 34).

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