Lot 30
  • 30

Jacques Lipchitz

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jacques Lipchitz
  • Femme au serpent
  • Inscribed J. Lipchitz, with the date 1913 and stamped with the foundry mark Valsuani Cire Perdue
  • Bronze, dark brown patina 
  • Height: 24 in.
  • 61 cm


Private Collection, Florida

Private Collection (inherited from the above and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 3, 2006, lot 53)

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Alan G. Wilkinson, The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz, A Catalogue Raisonné, Volume One, The Paris Years, 1910-1940, London & New York, 1996, no. 13, illustration of another cast p. 38

Catalogue Note

Lipchitz was perhaps the most successful of all his contemporaries at interpreting the Cubist aesthetic through sculpture.  The works that he created between 1910 and 1915 wrestled with the problem of deconstructing form using a medium that was inherently solid.  His figures of this era, with their geometricized bodies twisting and turning in space, examplify the complexity of his task.

Alan Wilkinson explains that Lipchitz's individualized approach to his art was influenced by a trip to Russia in 1912, where he was impressed by the curvilinear shapes and exaggerated, zoomorphic figuration in Scythian metalwork.  Wilkinson writes, "We can see clearly that three factors were making themselves felt strongly and, if not simultaneously, at least almost simultaneously, at a rapidly accelerating pace.  These factors were a tendency toward the curvilinear (in which the S-line and spiral manifest themselves); rectilinearity, in which the rectangle and diagonal are noteworthy; and third, the start of a fusion of forms leading up to an organic intertwining.  It was a conflictual situation, in which his deep-rooted urge toward human figuration and fear of pure abstration confronted him with the necessity of finding a solution in an art form in which anatomical structures had lost authority - this is where 'tribal art' stimulated him far more powerfully than is commonly assumed" (A. G. Wilkinson, op. cit., 1996, pp. 10-11).

The present bronze was cast at the Valsuani Foundry while the artist was living in Paris before the war, and it is from in an edition of 7.   Other casts from the edition are in the collections of the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania and in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.