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Venus Anadyomene

Paul Manship (American, 1885-1966)

The stylized hair and soft rounded forms are in harmony with the images of the sea, the goddess, and Art Deco sculpture of the 1920s and 1930s.

This small bronze figure is tied to the mythological goddess of love and her birth from the foam of the sea.

(Galleries Maurice Sternberg, Chicago, Illinois); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1979.

Simplification of Line and Detail

Paul Manship’s academic career commenced at the St. Paul School of Art in Minnesota. At the age of nineteen, he moved to Philadelphia to continue his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Manship later relocated to New York, where he enrolled at the Art Students League. He also served as an assistant to Solon Borglum, a sculptor of Western themes, from whom he gained knowledge of animal anatomy. Manship won the coveted Prix de Rome and a fellowship to study for three years at the American Academy of Rome. It was at this time that he developed an interest in classical and archaic Greek art. Upon returning to America, these combined influences resulted in a style attractive to both modernists and conservatives in its simplification of line and detail. He created a number of sculptures characterized by a stylized form that was uniquely his own. Manship’s oeuvre includes over 700 works.

Venus’s birth from sea foam, called Venus Anadyomene, is the subject depicted here. The cascade of wavy hair and the figure’s soft, rounded forms are congruent with images of the sea, the goddess, and the Art Deco style. Manship lavished attention on the surfaces of his sculpture. Here, the rich brown coloring has been rubbed away from her hair to add highlights.

Rathner, Susan. Archaism, Modernism, and the Art of Paul Manship. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993.

Object Information

Paul Manship (American, 1885-1966)
creation date
bronze on marble base
9 x 5 x 6 in.
mark descriptions
Signed and dated, left, on land form beneath figure's right leg: P ? MANSHIP ? / © 1924
accession number
credit line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. M. D. Ratner
© Paul Manship
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945