Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

The Imp

c.1914

Medium
Alabaster
Dimensions
Object: 406 x 89 x 83 mm
Permanently attached to MDF(paintable) plinth base 15x210x255 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by C. Frank Stoop through the Contemporary Art Society 1930
Reference
N04516

Display caption

Gaudier-Brzeska much admired the non-European sculptures that he saw at the British Museum. The Imp echoes the proportions and features of such sculptures. The overtly phallic form reflects the commonly held view of the day that equated so-called ‘primitive’ cultures with energising sexuality.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N04516 THE IMP c. 1914
 
Not inscribed.
Veined alabaster, 16×3 1/2×3 1/4 (40·5×9×8·5), including base; the work has been broken at the base and restored.
Presented by C. Frank Stoop through the Contemporary Art Society 1930.
Coll: As for No.4514.
Exh: London Group, March 1915 (96), as ‘Statuette in Alabaster’; Leicester Galleries, May–June 1918 (28); Temple Newsam, Leeds, June–August 1943 (77); Arts Council, 1956–7 (27).
Lit: Pound, 1916, p.161, No.28, pl.18; Ede, 1930, p.205, repr. pl.45.
Repr: E. H. Ramsden, Twentieth Century Sculpture, 1949, pl.31, as c. 1912; Pound, 1957, p.21.

According to Ede and the Leicester Galleries catalogue this was carved in 1914. Pound describes it as a ‘late work, grotesque’.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I