Jacques Lipchitz Hagar 1948

Artwork details

Artist
Jacques Lipchitz 1891–1973
Title
Hagar
Date 1948
Medium Plaster
Dimensions Object: 155 x 184 x 105 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Reference
T03519
Not on display

Catalogue entry

T03519 Hagar 1948

Plaster, partly painted 6 × 7 1/4 × 4 1/4 (152 × 184 × 108)
Not inscribed
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Lit: Ziva Amishai, ‘Lipchitz - Themes within a Jewish Context’, exhibition catalogue, Jacques Lipchitz at Eighty, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1971, n.p.; Lipchitz 1972, pp.183–4

The final bronze of ‘Hagar’, which also has the figure of her son Ishmael, was exhibited at the Buchholz Gallery, New York, in 1951 (Jacques Lipchitz, May 1951, as ‘22, Agar, 23" high’, repr.). Also included, as a single catalogue number covering more than one work, were ‘Studies for Agar, 1948, bronze, 6 1/4–9 3/4ins.high’, which probably refer to bronze casts of this sculpture and T03527 and T03534.

This is probably an original plaster of 1948, from which the right arm and head were completely removed and replaced at a later date with new plaster, when the base was also made. The terracotta from which the figure was first cast is in the collection of the University of Arizona Museum of Art (Arizona 1982, 29, repr.).

The limbs of this early study for Hagar can be read ambiguously, with the right hand at either end of the arm, and the raised leg indeterminate.

Lipchitz makes clear in his autobiography that the subject referred to the foundation of Israel in 1948. Hagar, in Genesis 16, was the mother of Abraham's illegitimate son Ishmael, who was the ancestor of the Arabs. They were exiled by Abraham's wife Sarah, who was the mother of Isaac, the ancestor of the Jews. The subject therefore appeals for sympathy for the Arabs, but Lipchitz also goes on to refer to his own situation as an exile in America, with his second wife and their child:

The two concepts, my feeling for Israel and my feeling for the mother and child, came together in the Hagar I of 1948, which has to do with Israel and the conflict between Israel and the Arabs. Despite my admiration for and love of Israel, I feel strongly that the Jews and the Arabs should make peace, that they should live together as brothers, which they were able to do for many centuries. Hagar was a concubine of Abraham and when he married Sarah, Sarah did not wish to have her or her child, Ishmael, so Abraham finally sent them away. They suffered in the desert until they were rescued by an angel. I wished to show my sympathy for Ishmael, who is thought of as the father of the Arabs in the same manner as the Hebrews are the sons of Abraham; so this is a prayer for brotherhood between the Jews and the Arabs. It is a concept which combines tragedy and suffering with tenderness and hope for the future (Lipchitz, loc.cit.).

[For T03397 and T03479 to T03534 the foundry inscriptions, and reproductions of casts in other materials in the books listed below, are recorded. Abbreviations used:

Arnason 1969 H.H. Arnason, Jacques Lipchitz: Sketches in Bronze, 1969

Lipchitz 1972 Jacques Lipchitz, My Life in Sculpture, 1972

Stott 1975 Deborah A. Stott, Jacques Lipchitz and Cubism, 1975 (reprinted 1978)

Otterlo 1977 A.M. Hammacher, Lipchitz in Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, 1977

Centre Pompidou 1978 Nicole Barbier, Lipchitz: oeuvres de Jacques Lipchitz (1891–1973) dans les collections du Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1978

Arizona 1982 Jacques Lipchitz. Sketches and Models in the collection of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona. Introduction and catalogue by Peter Bermingham, 1982]


Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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