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Gallery Text

The objects in this case present different visions of the female body. Statuette or vessel, funerary offering or object of worship, decorative feature or conscious work of art, they would have elicited very different — though not mutually exclusive — responses when seen in their original contexts. Some called for symbolic or religious understanding and were used in ritual, such as the Cycladic figure; others invited their viewers to reconstruct a narrative scenario, such as the Aphrodite binding her sandal; whereas yet others offered visceral aesthetic, sensual, and perhaps even tactile delight. One of the bodies here — Lachaise’s Woman Bending Backward — is not from the ancient world, but, like many other European and American works, depends very much on Greco-Roman models and ideals, even as it distances itself from them, for example with a pose not known from representations of women in antiquity.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1995.191
People
Gaston Lachaise, American (Paris, France 1882 - 1935 New York, NY)
Title
Woman Bending Backward
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
1926
Places
Creation Place: North America, United States
Culture
American
Location
Level 3, Room 3200, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Art, Classical Sculpture
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Alabaster
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
12.7 x 22.9 x 10.2 cm (5 x 9 x 4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: On base: G.Lachaise, Signed Date: 1926
Provenance
Artist, sold; to Georgia O'Keeffe, acquired by 1929; Lois Orswell, acquired 1946(?), gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1995.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Lois Orswell
Accession Year
1995
Object Number
1995.191
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Marjorie B. Cohn and Sarah Kianovsky, Lois Orswell, David Smith, and Modern Art, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), cat. no. 95, fig. 33, pp. 74-75, 325, 373

Exhibition History

20th Century Abstract Painting and Sculpture, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 04/16/1947 - 05/18/1947

Lois Orswell, David Smith, and Modern Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/21/2002 - 02/16/2003

32Q: 3200 West Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu