Skip Navigation

Elie Nadelman (b.Warsaw, Poland, 1882-d. Riverdale, New York, 1946)
Left: Standing Male Nude, ca. 1908-9
25 1/2 x 12 x 9 1/2 in. (64.8 x 30.5 x 24.1 cm)
Private Collection
©Estate of Elie Nadelman

Right: Standing Nude Figure, ca. 1907
29 1/4 x 6 1/2 x 6 in. (74.3 x 16.5 x 15.2 cm)
Private Collection
©Estate of Elie Nadelman

Nadelman’s nudes are possessed of unusual delicacy and poise. The man reaches out, while the woman gestures inward. Their fluid, dynamic motions flow harmoniously through space, expressing an energy that Nadelman called "plastic life."

Elie Nadelman went to Paris from Warsaw, Poland, in 1905. At the time he made these two works, Nadelman was spending a great deal of time in the Louvre, studying the sculpture of Michelangelo. But most of all, these two early nudes are stylized neoclassical interpretations of ancient art. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire nicknamed Nadelman "Praxitelmann" after Praxiteles, famed sculptor of Classical Greece.

Jacques Lipchitz (b.druskieniki, Lithuania, 1891-d. Capri, Italy, 1973)
Acrobat on Horseback, 1914
21 3/4 in. (55.2 cm)
Private Collection
Photo courtesy of Conner-Rosenkranz, New York
All Rights Reserved

The mass of this sculpture is sometimes round—at other times, it is reduced to angular surfaces. Arabesques carry these patterns to create spatial unity. Lipchitz accentuated the transitions, developing a flowing three-dimensional rhythm. The fluid lines of the acrobat’s legs and the horse’s delicate right leg send your eye in sweeping motion.

The subject of circus and cabaret figures had great appeal during this period. The owner of this
Lipchitz notes:

There is a Picasso… Acrobat en Repose, a very famous painting which actually Vladimir Horowitz had in his collection. And if you look at that and if you look at the Lipchitz Acrobat on Horseback, you could almost think it is the same… figure that they have been thinking of….They were looking for those models which were different than what was going on in Europe… a lot of people painting pictures of famous people….And this was not about that at all, this was really about the masses and the circus and the acrobats. All about the masses. That is what, I think, they were trying to do.

The regal strutting horse also recalls both pre-Classical sculpture and Italian Renaissance equestrian sculpture. Lipchitz collected many kinds of art, including Greek and Renaissance pieces and works depicting riders on prancing horses.

Acrobat on Horseback is a formidable accomplishment for a 23-year-old artist who had arrived in Paris from Lithuania just five years earlier with no academic training. This work marks the end of the sculptor’s early period of traditionally based idealized naturalism.

Amedeo Modigliani (b.Livorno, Italy, 1884-d. Paris, France 1920)
Portrait of Beatrice Hastings, ca. 1916
Oil on canvas
16 15/16 x 10 5/8 in. (43 x 27 cm)
The Whitehead Collection (Courtesy Achim Moeller Fine Art, New York)

The young woman has pink skin, blonde wavy hair, up-turned nose, and a pouty, slightly open mouth. She is motioning outward energetically, a picture of youthful freshness. Modigliani’s portrait offers an enchanting peek into the personality of his lover. Beatrice Hastings arrived in Montparnasse in April 1914. She was a poet and correspondent for the English journal New Age. Sculptor Ossip Zadkine introduced the young English woman to Modigliani, who immediately fell in love with her, although their affair was brief. In numerous portraits, the human face and form remained Modigliani’s passion for the rest of his short life. He died in 1920.

Mané-Katz (b. Kremenchug, Ukraine, 1894-d. Tel Aviv, Israel, 1962)
Russian Shtetl, 1931
Oil on canvas
The Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of Norman and Lois Barbanell Rosen, 1981-239

In 1931, when Mané-Katz painted this fierce Russian landscape, he had already acquired French citizenship and was a successful artist in his adopted country. Mané-Katz first arrived in Paris in 1913, staying only one year before returning to the Ukraine. He settled in France in 1921 and quickly became identified with the Jewish artists of Montparnasse. Although religious subjects and Jewish genre scenes were rare among the avant-garde, he remained faithful to his orthodox heritage, choosing as his primary theme life in the shtetls of Eastern Europe.

Russian Shtetl shows Mané-Katz’s admiration for Rembrandt in its dark, northern tone. The tumultuous brushwork and violent masses of somber color that engulf the lone figure convey the harshness of everyday life.