(French, born in Lithuania, 1891–1973)
Ebony and oak
Overall: 98.1 cm (38 5/8 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Aye Simon 1972.367
Inspired by artists Picasso and Braque, Lipchitz adapted their innovations in painting to sculpture. His series of Detachable Figures were made with solid blocks of material to simulate the geometric shapes of his friends' paintings. Born in Lithuania, then part of Russia, Lipchitz belonged to a circle of prominent Jewish artists active in the School of Paris that included Amedeo Modigliani and Chaïm Soutine.
Lipchitz began making Cubist sculptures in 1915, the year he produced this rare assemblage of oak and ebony blocks. The interlocking blocks suggest abstract patterns of light and shadow, while multiple views of a single figure appear at the top. One face is delicately carved into a block near the raised arm, while two ebony blocks on the adjacent side suggest an abstract face with the elongated features of an African mask.
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