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Currently shown
Wilhelm Lehmbruck

Bathing Woman

Artist

Wilhelm Lehmbruck
Duisburg, Germany, 1881 – Berlin 1919

Title

Bathing Woman

Date

1914

Materials

Cast stone

Dimensions

93 x 46 x 45 cm

Credits

Purchase, inv. 1949.1023

Collection

Western Art

Lehmbruck lived from 1910 to 1914 in Paris, but ultimately returned to his native country, where he died an untimely death. The young generation of sculptors strove to forget Rodin by returning to the simplified, solid and measured volumes of antique statuary. This Bathing Woman evokes the classicism of the Greco-Roman Venus Pudica, a figure portrayed modestly covering her nudity. Though influenced by the French sculptor Maillol, Lehmbruck developed a personal style characterized by elegantly elongated forms described at the time as “gothic,” softened by a sfumato-like treatment of the smooth surfaces. The unusual use of cement, or “cast stone,” can be explained by Lehmbruck’s contact with other foreign artists living in Montparnasse, such as Brancusi and Archipenko. By opting pragmatically for this material—less expensive than marble or bronze, but more solid than plaster or terra cotta—they were able to produce low-cost editions in a distinctly modern manner.

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