Jacques Lipchitz

Seated Figure

With this sculpture, Lipchitz turns the proportions of a human body into angular shapes and facets that produce contrasts between shadow and light. A single piercing eye denotes the work as a human figure. The head, arms and backside emerge from a complex interplay of cylindrical, round and linear forms. Lipchitz was influenced by crude, raw African and Oceanic carvings that represented a departure from the familiar academic tastes of the day. It is also inspired by his intellectual exchange with Cubist painters, particularly Juan Gris, whose simplified geometric style is emulated here.

by 1953/12 – 1955/02/11.

Curt Valentin Gallery (Curt Valentin, 1902–1954), New York, N.Y., USA [1]

1955/02/11 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from the Curt Valentin Gallery [2]

[1] The sculpture was included in the exhibition “Sculpture and Sculptors'Drawings.” [Curt Valentin Gallery, New York, December 22, 1953 to January 24, 1954, cat. no 26, repr.]. On two handwritten lists by Curt Valentin the work is marked “N.Y. CV” for “New York, Curt Valentin” [Curt Valentin Papers, CV I.69. and I. 69, the Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York]. The sculpture apparently came from Valentin's private collection. As is apparent from the correspondence between the two, Valentin had known Lipchitz for many years and supported him financially after his move from France to the United States during WW2. In exchange for his support, Lipchitz paid his debts with artworks. In May 1954, Lipchitz signed an exclusive contract with Valentin [Curt Valentin Papers, III.A.18, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York]. It is likely that Seated Figure was acquired directly from the artist.

[2] Accession log [NGC curatorial file].

Seated Figure
77.2 x 29.1 x 26 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1955
Accession number