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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

Wilhelm Lehmbruck lived in Paris from 1910 to 1914, then returned to his native country, where he died an untimely death. This Bathing Woman evokes the classicism of the Graeco-Roman Venus Pudica, a figure portrayed modestly covering her nudity. Influenced by the French sculptor Aristide Maillol, Lehmbruck nevertheless 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 Constantin Brancusi and Alexander Archipenko. Pragmatically opting for this material – less expensive than marble or bronze, but more solid than plaster or terracotta – they were able to produce low-cost editions in a distinctly modern manner. This sculpture was sold to the Museum by Hugo Simons, who had acquired it in Germany before he immigrated to Montreal. His portrait painted by Otto Dix is in the Museum’s collection.

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