Jacques Lipchitz

Musical Instruments, Bas Relief


Original title
Nature morte aux instruments de musique
Object: 158 x 203 x 25 mm
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982

Catalogue entry

T03509 Musical Instruments, Bas Relief 1923

Plaster coated with shellac, the reverse painted 6 1/4 × 8 × 1 (158 × 203 × 25)
Not inscribed
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Lit: Lipchitz 1972, p.73

During 1923 and 1924 Lipchitz made a number of small relief sculptures as studies for a commission from Dr Albert Barnes, who had asked him to make several relief carvings to go over lintels on the outside of his house and art gallery at Merion, Philadelphia, then being built. This, T03618 and T03526 are all versions of the same composition, not used at Merion but similar in subject to some of the reliefs:

T03509 is a plaster cast in about 1923 from a small scale preliminary study,

T03518 is a plaster cast in the 1960s when this small study was cast as a bronze, and has the addition of a display stand,

T03526 is a plaster cast in about 1923 from a larger development of this composition, and was itself used as a model for a bronze edition.

For this commission Lipchitz returned to the still lifes of musical instruments that he had already used for his first cubist reliefs in 1917–18. The guitar and open book were typical subjects of Lipchitz's friend Juan Gris, as for example in the Tate Gallery's ‘Violin and Fruit Dish’, 1924 (N05935), but also in many earlier paintings. These carvings were completed before the commission given by Dr Barnes to Matisse in 1930.

The plaster has been coloured to resemble terracotta. Plaster, painted light red, has been brushed onto the reverse, possibly hiding a foundry inscription.

[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