Lot 98
  • 98

Gaston Lachaise

5,000 - 7,000 USD
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  • Gaston Lachaise
  • Torso
  • stamped Lachaise / Estate and numbered 7/10
  • bronze, on a 4 inch black base
  • height: 8 inches
  • (20.3 cm)
  • Conceived in 1932.


The Lachaise Foundation, Boston,
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York, 1973
Allan Stone Gallery, New York, 1974


Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gaston Lachaise, 1882-1935: Sculpture and Drawings, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1963, [n.p.], no. 96, another example illustrated
du Plessix, “Anatomy of a Collector: Nelson Rockefeller,” Art in America, vol. 53, no. 2, April 1965, pp. 37-38, another example illustrated
Feliz Lanxau Gallery (Los Angeles, California), Gaston Lachaise: Sculpture and Drawing, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles, 1965, [n.p.], another example illustrated
University of California, Irvine, Twentieth Century Sculpture, 1900–1950: Selected from California Collections, exhibition catalogue, Irvine, 1965, pp. 17-18, another example illustrated
E. Elsen, Purposes of Art, 2nd ed., New York, 1967, p. 364, fig. 433, another example illustrated. Kramer, The Sculpture of Gaston Lachaise, New York, 1967, p. 49, fig. 68, another example illustrated
B. Goodall, Gaston Lachaise: Sculptor, Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1969, vol. 2, pp. 333-34, 447, pl. CXLVII, another example illustrated
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.), Twentieth-Century Art from the Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Collection, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1969, pp. 72, 132, another example illustrated.
E. Elsen, The Partial Figure in Modern Sculpture: From Rodin to 1969, exhibition catalogue, Baltimore 1970, p. 111, no. 38, another example listed
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery (New York, N.Y.), Gaston Lachaise: Sculpture and Drawings, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1973, [n.p.], an example illustrated
Gerald Nordland, Gaston Lachaise: The Man and His Works, New York, 1974, p. 146, fig. 80, another example illustrated
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, N.Y.), Gaston Lachaise: A Concentration of Works from the Permanent Collection, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1980, p. 24, another example illustrated
Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection: Masterpieces of Modern Art, edited by D. C. Miller, New York, 1981, p. 98, another example illustrated
Day, J. Stenger, K. Eremin, N. Khandekar, and V. Budny, Gaston Lachaise: Characteristics of His Bronze Sculpture, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012, pp. 19, 62 note d, fig. 16, another example illustrated; p. 19, figs. 17a-b, the plaster model illustrated


Bronze on a 4 inch black base. In generally good condition aside from scattered pitting and rubbing.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Gaston Lachaise’s Torso [LF 96], representing a woman’s sexually charged torso and wing-like segments of her upraised arms, is treated as a highly energized signifier of both the source of life and aspiration--the two conceptions considered by Lachaise to be “the most fundamental to humanity” (Interview, New York Herald-Tribune, September 19, 1932, p. 16). It is one of a number of sculptures and drawings by Lachaise that exuberantly express these impulses.

A hollow-back high relief, this work is a reworked version of another Torso [LF 193], which exists as a unique bronze cast copyrighted, produced, and sold by Lachaise to its first owner in 1931, and now owned by the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The model for the Harvard cast in turn had been derived by Lachaise from the front of one of his full-figure sculptures, Kneeling Figure [LF 111], which represents a voluptuous, wasp-waisted nude woman kneeling on one knee, her head and arms ecstatically upraised. The plaster model for Kneeling Figure, the Harvard cast, and the plaster model for the present cast are illustrated in J. Day, J. Stenger, K. Eremin, N. Khandekar, and V. Budny, Gaston Lachaise: Characteristics of His Bronze Sculpture, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012. According to Lachaise’s widow, Kneeling Figure dates from 1924, the year assigned to it in the 2012 study, but its vigorous style points to a later date—yet one not later than 1930. The Harvard cast, made from a model created in 1930, more closely corresponds to Kneeling Figure than does the present cast; for example, it retains a segment of the kneeling woman’s raised right leg. Lachaise’s process in developing the models for these two sculptures is illustrated and discussed in the 2012 study; as he worked, he sought to condense and intensify the suggestion of explosive force within the woman’s body and heighten the work’s immediate impact on the viewer.

Two casts of Torso [LF 96] dating from the 1930s have been identified: one of them, last documented in 1963, is presently unlocated; the other is in a private collection. The Lachaise Foundation, which was established in 1963 to oversee the artist’s estate, immediately initiated an Estate edition of ten numbered casts; the entire edition (which includes the present example) was completed in 2015. One of the casts (3/10) is owned by the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California; two others (9/10 and 10/10) are owned by the Lachaise Foundation. The Lachaise Foundation also issued an “artist’s proof” for itself in 2015.