After suffering severe financial losses stemming from the Great Depression, Nadelman changed his focus between 1938 and his death in 1946. As Barbara Haskell writes, he turned "from idealism and emotional restraint to flux, anxiety, and uncertainty". He began making numerous casts of single plaster figures small enough to easily be held in the hand. He drew his inspiration for these miniature figures from the Tanagra and Myrina votive figurines of Ancient Greece. Haskell continues, "Mostly...he left the surfaces rough and scarred, which gave the figures an unfinished look, as if they had been caught in a state of metamorphosis". He would group figures together, often laying them out flat on tables in his studio as though they were artifacts from an archaeological excavation. (Barbara Haskell, Elie Nadelman: Sculptor of Modern Life, New York, 2003, p. 187)
The present lot hung in the guest bedroom of the artist's home in Riverdale for many years. Two other similar groups of figures were displayed in the house as well, in the red drawing room and the back studio.
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