Jacques Lipchitz

Musical Instruments, Standing Relief


Original title
Nature morte aux instruments de musique
Object: 388 x 482 x 95 mm
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982

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This sculpture was a made as a preliminary study for a series of relief carvings for the exterior of the home of the collector Albert Barnes in Philadelphia, now housing the Barnes Foundation. The designs draw upon popular Cubist motifs, showing a guitar and an open book. The two eye shapes at top and bottom may reflect Lipchitz’s interest in integrating the human figure with the instruments.

Gallery label, July 2007

Catalogue entry

T03526 Musical Instruments, Standing Relief 1924

Plaster coated with shellac 15 1/4 × 19 × 3 3/4 (388 × 482 × 95)
Inscribed ‘I. I.’ and ‘L.’ in red paint on the reverse, and ‘554 B 3 OFF’ in brown ink along lower edge
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Lit: Lipchitz 1972, p.73

See entry on T03509. There is a small terracotta study for this relief (Centre Pompidou 1978, 25). Another plaster is of the same dimensions but stands on two short, bent legs (Otterlo 1977, n.p., as ‘Standing Bas Relief (1923–26’).

Unlike the smaller design T03509, no part of the surface of the relief is in the same plane as the surround, and the surface of the guitar is inclined slightly. The two eye shapes at top and bottom are most easily imagined to be some still life objects, but Lipchitz had not before used them in such an ambiguous way, and there is also a suggestion of his wish to integrate the human figure with the instruments.

It is possible that this plaster is one of two sculptures exhibited at the gallery La Renaissance in Paris in June 1930 as ‘Nature morte, bas-relief (plâtre). La pierre se trouve à la Barnes Foundation’. The plaster is an original of 1924.

[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