A New American Sculpture, 1914–1945: Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman, and Zorach

February 17, 2018May 13, 2018

A New American Sculpture, 1914–1945: Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman, and Zorach is the first exhibition to investigate the integral relationships between modernism, classicism, and popular imagery in the interwar sculpture of Gaston Lachaise, Robert Laurent, Elie Nadelman, and William Zorach. Assembled from public and private collections, this exhibition of approximately 55 sculptures and 20 drawings addresses the remarkable affinities between the work of four divergent and competitive personalities, who redefined sculpture's expressive potential during the turbulent interbellum period. Known to each other but working independently, these four immigrant artists created figural sculpture that reveal a confluence of sources—from archaism and European avant-garde art to vernacular traditions and American popular culture.

Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman, and Zorach studied in Paris between 1900 and 1914, where they absorbed the formal innovations in sculpture of those years—smooth harmonies of line, curve, mass, calm composition, innovative surfaces, and the influence of non-Western art. They applied these formal lessons in America, where they were inspired by contemporary performance culture, particularly vaudeville and modern dance. The four artists also continuously experimented with new techniques, distinguishing their sculptural practice as fresh and innovative. Co-organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Portland Museum of Art, this exhibition reveals how this circle of European-born artists became preeminent figures of modernism in the United States.

A New American Sculpture, 1914–1945: Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman, and Zorach has been organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Government support is provided by National Endowment for the Arts. Foundation support is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Local presentation is made possible by the Ann L. & Carol Green Rhodes Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.