- Alexander Archipenko
- Seated, Black
- height: 53.7cm.
- 21 1/8 in.
Thence by descent to the present owner
Anette Barth, Alexander Archipenkos plastisches Œuvre, Frankfurt, 1997, no. 245, illustration of the plaster version p. 427
László Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, Chicago, 1946, p. 60
The present work was executed while Archipenko lived in the United States, where he moved in 1923 and stayed until the end of his life. Having lived in France, where he became involved with the Parisian avant-garde circles, as well as Berlin, in 1923 Archipenko and his wife arrived in the United States, first settling in New York, where he opened an art school. Seated, Black was created during a crucial period in the artist’s career: in 1936 he participated in the now celebrated exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The following year Archipenko moved to Chicago and was invited by László Moholy-Nagy to teach at the New Bauhaus Chicago (fig. 1) – a school that essentially continued the philosophy of its predecessor in Germany - as head of the Modeling Workshop.
Archipenko executed Seated, Black in this unique version in black marble, as well as in a plaster version now in the collection of Saarland Museum, Saarbrücken and a bronze edition of six casts. Archipenko gave this marble version to Moholy-Nagy, in whose family it has remained to this day. The Hungarian-born Moholy-Nagy moved to Berlin in 1920, where he would have crossed paths with Archipenko, who moved to Berlin the following year. Soon afterwards Moholy-Nagy joined the Bauhaus school, where he was known for his versatility, working as a painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer, typographer and industrial designer. In 1937 Moholy-Nagy emigrated to the United States, following an invitation to join the New Bauhaus in Chicago, where he was soon joined by Archipenko. The present work is a testament to the friendship between the two avant-garde artists and their shared modernist vision.