Poland 1882 – United States of America 1946
Horse c.1911-15 Materials & Technique: sculptures, plaster
The plaster Horse has survived as one of the most important works from Nadelman's early period in Paris. Its fluent geometry, that taut answering of curve and countercurve, created, as Nadelman claimed for his sculpture, 'a new life which had nothing to do with nature'.1 The plump, buoyant profile of the horse also anticipates the painted wooden carvings of society figures which Nadelman later made in the United Sates.
The Horse was included in a comprehensive exhibition of Nadelman's work at Paterson's Gallery, London, in April 1911. The entire exhibition was purchased by Helena Rubinstein, herself Polish, like Nadelman, and already famous as a founder of the modern cosmetic industry.
A reduced version of the plaster Horse was possibly cast as early as 1914.2 The number of casts and the foundry concerned are unknown. Examples of this cast are in the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona.3 Another small variation, in bronze, with the horse rearing back, was purchased for the Dial Collection from Galerie Flechtheim, Berlin, 1923, and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Following their purchase of the plaster horse in 1966, the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York, ordered seven full-scale bronze casts to be made (numbered 0 to 6) by the Modern Art Foundry, New York. Of these casts, one is in the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, and another in the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. The remainder are in private collections.
Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.104.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra