Elie Nadelman arrived in Paris in 1904, quickly establishing himself within the art community and achieving his first success in 1905, when three of his drawings were accepted at the Salon d’Automne. In April 1909 Galerie E. Druet held a solo exhibition of the artist’s sculpture. The exhibition was an instant sensation, and Nadelman captured the attention of the great art patrons Leo and Gertrude Stein, as well as Alfred Stieglitz. Writes Barbara Haskell, “Nadelman’s radical simplification of form and stylized distortion of shapes became a pulse point of debate about the future of sculpture, reportedly disturbing even [Pablo] Picasso and stimulating Amedeo Modigliani to turn temporarily to sculpture” (Elie Nadelman: Sculptor of Modern Life, New York 2003, p. 31).
Indeed, works such as Standing Bull and Wounded Bull compellingly demonstrate Nadelman’s complex relationship with Picasso and the tenets of Cubism. Nadelman met Picasso a few months prior to the Druet exhibition in 1908 in an introduction at his studio arranged by Leo Stein. Picasso saw firsthand the manner in which Nadelman distilled his subject down to its purest planes and lines. Though Nadelman’s work certainly influenced Picasso as he developed the tenets of analytical cubism a few years later, the two artists inherently disagreed with one another in their conception of the relationship between realism and abstraction. Indeed, Nadelman never fully abandoned representation in his work, believing that art should never be divorced from nature, and he saw the work of Picasso and the Cubists as subverting the order and logic inherent to the forms of natural world.
Wounded Bull and Standing Bull were cast during Nadelman’s lifetime, each in an edition of approximately six bronzes. They exemplify the artist’s elegant vision of the natural world, which he summarized by saying, “The subject of any work of art is for me nothing but a pretext for creating significant form” (quoted in Lincoln Kirstein, Elie Nadelman, New York, 1973, p. 265). Rejecting extraneous detail or embellishment in these works, Nadelman focuses on the bull’s curves and form, ultimately achieving a careful synthesis of representation and abstraction that emphasizes the beauty and power of the animal.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale