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"Ideal Head" Bronze by Elie Nadelman


Elie Nadelman (1882-1946) was one of the great pioneers of modernism. His highly idiosyncratic sculpture and drawings reconciled high art with Folk Art, and the tradition of classicism with the revolutionary program of the avant-garde. While active in Paris in the early 1900s, Nadelman's work was collected by Gertrude and Leo Stein, who introduced him to Pablo Picasso (said to have been influenced by Nadelman's reductive drawings). After moving from Paris to New York, Nadelman's passion for collecting American Folk Art (an unusual enthusiasm in the 1920s; Nadelman founded the very first museum of Folk Art in 1926) increasingly informed his own sculpture, which has been seen by some art historians as an early precursor to Pop Art. Important retrospective exhibitions of Nadelman's work, at the Museum Of Modern Art in 1948, at the Whitney and Hirschhorn in 1975-1976, and again at the Whitney in 2003, have ensured a steady growth of interest in the work of this singular artist, who was sadly almost forgotten when he died in 1946. "Ideal Head", an expressive bronze modeled in 1912-1913, reflects Nadelman's lifelong devotion to classicism. It is signed "Nadelman" at the base of the neck. This piece, an old but posthumous cast in a small edition authorized by the artist's estate, was originally sold by James Graham & Sons, New York's oldest art gallery. The bronze is mounted on a black marble plinth. The overall dimensions with the plinth are 21 inches tall x 11 inches deep x 8 inches wide. The artwork alone measures 13 inches tall x 11 inches deep x 8 inches wide. Provenance: James Graham & Sons, New York  


  • Condition
    Good. There are some light scratches on one side of the head, visible in some of the photographs. These small flaws can be professional restored by a conservator at no additional cost to the buyer.
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 21 in. x W 8 in. x D 11 in.

    H 53.34 cm x W 20.32 cm x D 27.94 cm

  • Seller location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Reference number

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