Marlborough Gallery

Jacques Lipchitz: Beyond Bible and Myth

Jacques Lipchitz: Beyond Bible and Myth

sketch for benediction ii by jacques lipchitz

Jacques Lipchitz

Sketch for Benediction II, 1943

Price on Request

study for birth of the muses iv by jacques lipchitz

Jacques Lipchitz

Study for Birth of the Muses IV, 1950

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hagar in the desert by jacques lipchitz

Jacques Lipchitz

Hagar in the Desert, 1969

Price on Request

Wednesday, October 27, 2010Saturday, November 27, 2010


New York, NY USA

Jacques Lipchitz: Beyond Bible and Myth will open at Marlborough Gallery, 40 West 57th Street, on October 27 and continue through November 27, 2007. The exhibition, curated by Kosme de Barañano, prominent art historian and former Executive Director of IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno), Valencia, will include approximately 50 sculptures directly related to Lipchitz’ interest in the Bible and Greek mythology. Works on view date from throughout the artist’s career, from his Scythian-inspired Mythological Scene of 1911, to his powerful anti-fascist statement, David and Goliath of 1933, to his bronze Hagar in the Desert of 1969. This will be the first exhibition of Lipchitz’s work at Marlborough in three years and is especially noteworthy in that it concentrates specifically on sculptures with these themes.

Marlborough’s exhibition will include a range of sculpture by Lipchitz in which he treated Biblical subjects from the Old and New Testaments. Themes include Jacob and the Angel, Song of Songs, Hagar in the Desert, The Return of the Prodigal Son, The Tree of Life, Repentant Magdalene, The Virgin Mary and Mother and Child. Lipchitz’ Song of Songs, 1945 (24 1/2 x 38 1/8 x 10 1/4 in.) is represented in the show by the completed sculpture as well as by a maquette for the work, First Study for “Song of Songs”, completed the year before at one-eighth the size. Created for a friend of the artist, Lipchitz commented in his biography, My life, about this work: “The title, ong of Songs, of course comes from the Old Testament, and the theme is a love song, extremely lyrical and tender, since it was made for a very loving couple.”

One of the highlights of the exhibition will be Lipchitz’ powerful dedication to the sanctity and joy of motherhood, Mother and Child, 1949 (Bronze, 56 x 31 x 31 in.), that was inspired by the birth of his own daughter in 1948. Alan G. Wilkinson, commenting on this work, notes its relationship to Bernini’s famous treatment of the Madonna and Child, especially Lipchitz’ “Baroque” drapery and the sinuous curves that characterize the sculpture.

Lipchitz later devoted himself to a series of bronze studies and a final sculpture of the Virgin Mary in his commission for the Catholic Church, Nôtre-Dame-de-Toute-Grâce, at Assy in France. Lipchitz felt that his completed sculpture for this project, entitled Nôtre-Dame de Liesse (Our Lady of Joy), “was one of the most important thing I have ever done.” Three casts of this sculpture were made: one for the church at Assy, one for Abbey of Saint Columbia on the island Iona off the coast of Scotland, and one for which Philip Johnson designed his Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana. This landmark sculpture is represented in the exhibition by a beautiful study, measuring 33 inches high, which features the cloaked Virgin in a mandorla with the Holy Spirit above.

Greek mythology provided Lipchitz with a number of inspirational themes for sculptures, including Theseus and the Minotaur, David and Goliath, Prometheus Strangling the Vulture and Birth of the Muses, examples of which will be included in the Marlborough show.

One of the most famous and powerful Greek myths, The Rape of Europa, became the subject of three different treatments by the artist. This exhibition will feature four sculptures dedicated to this theme, beginning in 1938 with Rape of Europa I, 1938 (19 5/8 in.) begun just before World War II, and three others from the period of 1969-1972, where he focuses on the sexuality of the story as expressed through vigorous modeling of the subjects, especially in a unique marble of 1969-1970.

Kosme de Barañano eloquently writes of Lipchitz’ multicultural approach to Biblical and mythological themes in his essay that accompanies the catalogue:

               …Lipchitz reinterprets myths and their meanings, from Prometheus to the Virgin Mary, from Song of Songs to
               The Tree of Life, and contextualizes them in their period, forcing them to speak of the reality of the moment.
               At the same time, they are not religious or political propaganda, but a plastic song…

               …Sex, violence and decorative force, tragedy, comedy and a cosmic vision, paganism and religiosity, are all
               inserted in a specific space with a compositional rhythm that is enormously muscular yet delicately intimate…

Born in Lithuania in 1891, Lipchitz arrived in Paris in 1909 where he quickly established himself as an artist whose impact contributed to the revolution of twentieth century art. He began exhibiting in Paris in 1912 and his first solo show took place at the Galerie de l’effort moderne (Léonce Rosenberg) in 1920. Lipchitz’ emigrated from France at the time of the first German invasion, arriving in the United States in 1941. Shortly after, Lipchtiz began exhibiting at the Buccholz Gallery, New York, and continued to exhibit in galleries and museums until his death in 1973.

Considered one of the most fertile and innovative sculptors of the twentieth century, Lipchitz completed nineteen public and private commissions, creating such diverse works as a series of stone reliefs for Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922-23; the monumental Prometheus Strangling the Vulture for The World’s Fair, Paris, in 1936; Peace on Earth, 1963, for the Los Angeles County Music Center and the official portrait of John F. Kennedy in 1965.

Lipchitz’ work is included in the collections of over one hundred of the most important museums throughout the world, including Centre National d’Art et de Culture George Pompidou, Paris; Centro Museo de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Tate Gallery, London; and Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv.

Prof. Dr. Kosme de Barañano is a full tenured Professor at the University Miguel Hernandez within the Academy of Fine Arts in Altea. He was a Professor at the University of Heidelberg, Germany for eight years and then Deputy Director of the Centro Museo de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain and Executive Director of the museum IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno), in Valencia, Spain.

An illustrated catalogue with an essay by Mr. de Barañano will be available at the time of the exhibition.