Gaston Lachaise

Jun 8, 2013 – Sep 8, 2013

One of the pioneers of American Modernism, Gaston Lachaise (American, born France, 1882-1935) is celebrated internationally for his glorification and amplification of the female nude. MAN / WOMAN: Gaston Lachaise explores the development of the artist’s central themes of the universal Woman and Man the son of Woman, through more than 50 bronze and marble works that trace Lachaise’s unique contribution to 20th century sculpture and the rise of modernism.

Born in Paris, Lachaise trained in sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts. He met an older, married American woman, Isabel Dutaud Nagle, as he exited the École and fell passionately in love with her. When Nagle returned to the United States with her family, Lachaise pursued her. Emigrating in 1906, he began his career in Boston as an assistant to a sculptor producing military monuments. Eventually establishing himself in New York, Lachaise focused his work on the human figure and the search for universal forms. As Lachaise said in 1935, “What I am aiming to express is the glorification of the human being, of the human body, of the human spirit with all there is of daring magnificence.”

The exhibition provides a survey of Lachaise’s lifetime production and his complex and powerful celebration of Woman—heroic, monumental, sensual, earthy, and erotic—as well as a sample of his work with the male nude and insightful portrait busts. MAN / WOMAN reveals Lachaise as a sculptor of a ripe and vital maturity, whose art paved the way for twentieth century abstraction.

Organized by the Portland Art Museum in cooperation with the Lachaise Foundation and curated by Bruce Guenther, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art with Paula Hornbostel, M.A., Curator and Trustee of the Lachaise Foundation.

This exhibition is made possible by The Estate of Veronica A. Macdonald, Walter C. Hill Family Foundation, The Warren Foundation, Helen Jo and Bill Whitsell, Andrée H. Stevens, Prudence M. Miller, Bonnie Serkin and Will Emery, The Acorn Fund of OCF, and Anonymous.