Gaston Lachaise (American, born French, 1882-1935)

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Acrobat accentuates male strength and is a study of the body in balance.

Lachaise's interest in unconventional poses and distortion of forms links him to the Modernist Movement.

The artist is best known for his sculptures of voluptuous female figures.

Athleticism in Gaston Lachaiseâ??s Sculpture

Gaston Lachaise was born in Paris in 1882. Lachaise’s talent was recognized at an early age by his father, a cabinetmaker. He studied at the École Bernard Palissy and École des Beaux-Arts. He earned his money by working for the famous Art Nouveau glass designer, René Lalique. Lachaise began to sculpt works inspired by Auguste Rodin. He moved to Boston, and then to New York, where he spent seven years as an assistant to Paul Manship. His full-figured nudes with their small heads and tiny waists became his signature pieces. In the 1920s, Lachaise produced a number of garden sculptures that included dolphins, sea gulls, and fauns.

Like many artists with French roots, Lachaise found inspiration in the circus and its performers. Yet, in the hands of this pioneering modernist, the nimble acrobat becomes another essay in monumental human form. Lachaise’s principal drive as a sculptor was to glorify the sexual and procreative powers of women. In the Acrobat, he accentuates male strength and uses the contorted pose to extend his study of bodies in motion. An experienced jewelry and ornament designer, Lachaise effectively contrasted the coppery bronze of the acrobat’s costume with the shiny brass tones of his skin.

Bourgeois, Louise. Gaston Lachiase 1882-1935. The Lachaise Foundation/Gallimard, 2009.

Object Information

Gaston Lachaise (American, born French, 1882-1935)
creation date
bronze with brass plating
17 in.
mark descriptions
signed and dated on base: G. Lachaise, 1928
accession number
credit line
Gift of Phillip L. Goodwin
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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