1916 (plaster), cast 1919
Overall: 43.5 x 36 x 5.5 cm (17 1/8 x 14 3/16 x 2 3/16 in.)
Bequest of Lucia McCurdy McBride 1972.227
Before being embraced by artists, the term "Cubism" originated from an insult. The same is true of Gallus, a Latin word meaning both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul" (present-day France). Once used to mock the French, the rooster was reclaimed as a national symbol of triumph, as pictured here.
A pioneer of Cubist sculpture, Duchamp-Villon carved the original plaster for this bronze relief while serving in the army during World War I. It was intended for the entrance to a temporary theater erected near the front lines, where French soldiers would have recognized the rooster and rising sun as symbols of victory. Duchamp-Villon died during the war, and in 1919, five bronze casts were made from his plaster as a memorial to the artist.
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