Mark Gertler

Acrobats

1917

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 597 x 419 x 375 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1951
Reference
N06033

Display caption

Gertler began to sculpt in the autumn of 1916. He temporarily ceased painting, and on 13 September 1916 started a small plasticine model of 'Acrobats'. A few days later he made the two figures out of clay, using the small plasticine model as his guide. It is not known when this unique bronze cast was made. By November Gertler was making a carving of his painting 'Merry-Go-Round' but this does not seem to have survived. And in January he made a wood carving of 'Acrobats'. He wrote to his friend Richard Carline of his reasons for making sculpture: 'it is a natural and necessary development and it is real pleasure that makes me do it.'

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

N06033 ACROBATS 1917
 
Not inscribed.
Bronze, 23 1/2×16 1/2×14 3/4 (59·5×42×37·5), including bronze base, 1 (2·5) high.
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1951.
Coll: Probably given by the artist's widow to his sister-in-law Mrs J. Gertler, who sold it to Rex de C. Nan Kivell.
Exh:London Group, April–May 1917 (94).
Lit: Aldous Huxley (ed.), The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, 1932, p.403.

That this work was completed by 1 April 1917 can be established from the letters written to the artist by D. H. Lawrence. This is the only known cast. It is clear from other letters written by D. H. Lawrence to Gertler that he was working at sculpture during the winter of 1916–17 and, though no other work is known to exist, there is a reference to a wood carving in a letter of 9 February 1917 (op. cit., p.397).

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