Gaston Lachaise Sculpture Acquired by The Bruce Museum

The Bruce Museum has added a major piece of modernist sculpture to its permanent collection

Man Walking (Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein) is an excellent example of the art of Gaston Lachaise (1882 – 1935), a leading French-American sculptor of the early decades of the twentieth century. The image is a portrait of Lincoln Kirstein (1907 – 1996), one of the most dynamic and influential cultural figures of the last century, an impresario and author, as well as great patron of the arts.

It is one of only two casts of the sculpture which was modeled originally in 1932. The first piece was cast in bronze in Germany in 1933, exhibited in the winter of 1933 – 1934 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which acquired the work directly from the show. The present cast was fabricated by Lachaise for Kirstein in New York, chased and refined by the sculptor, and delivered to the patron around July 1934. The following year, the fledgling Museum of Modern Art in New York mounted the first retrospective of Gaston Lachaise’s sculpture (January 30 – February 15, 1935) and the first retrospective at the institution for any living American artist, featuring a catalogue with an introduction by Kirstein, in which the present work appeared as no. 51 (entitled simply Standing Figure).

Tragically Lachaise died at age 53 in the same year, probably of leukemia. Kirstein subsequently presented the work to the School of American Ballet, which he had founded with George Balanchine. The School deaccessioned the work at auction in 1989 (Christie’s, New York, December 1st, lot 150). It entered the trade (Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York) and subsequently was sold at auction by the collector/dealer Bernard Goldberg, Sale, Christie’s, New York, May 20, 2010, lot 89, where it was acquired by the Museum.

Image: Gaston Lachaise (1882 – 1935) Man Walking (Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein), cast in 1934 Bronze with brown patina, 21 in. (53.3 cm.) high Bruce Museum Collection 2010.01

Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT 06830-7157
Phone: 203.869.0376

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