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Harriet Whitney Frishmuth

Extase (Nocturne)

Lot Closed

October 6, 06:14 PM GMT


15,000 - 25,000 USD

Lot Details


Harriet Whitney Frishmuth

1880 - 1980

Extase (Nocturne)

inscribed HARRIET W. FRISHMUTH1920 (on the base) and stamped GORHAM CO. FOUNDERS / QBKE (along the base)

bronze with dark brown patina

height: 19 ½ inches (

Modeled in 1920; cast by 1935.

William S. Stimmel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by 1935
Private collection (by descent; sold: Christie's, New York, May 22, 2018, lot 165)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale
Charles N. Aronson, Sculptured Hyacinths, New York, 1973, pp. 102-06, 206, other examples illustrated
Janis Conner, Frank Hohmann, Leah Rosenblatt Lembreck, Thayer Tolles, Captured Motion: The Sculpture of Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, A Catalogue of Works, New York, 2006, no. 1920:1, pp. 148-49, 239, illustrated
Modeled in 1920, Extase (Nocturne) presents Frishmuth’s model Desha Delteil in a strong and streamlined pose. The title refers to Alexander Scriabin’s piano sonata Le Poème de l’extase (The Poem of Ecstasy), from 1908, which was first performed in New York in 1915.  Desha often danced to music from the gramophone in Frishmuth’s studio and the sculptor studied her carefully waiting for the desired pose.  Scriabin wrote a ten-page poem to accompany the musical composition, which discusses man’s pursuit of the ideal, love, and the eventual flight of the spirit. Frishmuth’s Extase presents Desha at full vertical extension. Her hands are firmly clasped together with a soaring movement and her heels are completely lifted from the base, suggesting the possibility of flight.