Jacques Lipchitz

Study for a Monument

1934, cast 1960s

Jacques Lipchitz 1891–1973
Original title
Etude pour monument
Object: 317 x 89 x 89 mm
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982

Not on display

Display caption

Lipchitz's left-wing sympathies led him to take an interest in the Soviet Union. The ideals and achievements of the Revolution impressed him and, in 1935, he visited relations in Russia. He subsequently wrote of his disillusion at the 'oppression and dictatorship' that he found. Nonetheless, he accepted a proposal to make a monument to the Revolution entitled Towards a New World, for which this is a study. In order to express the 'liberation of the Russian people through industry and agriculture' he envisaged a column topped by dancing figures. The commission came to nothing.

Gallery label, March 2001

Catalogue entry

T03514 Study for a Monument 1934
Plaster, partly stained from the mould 12 1/2 × 3 1/2 × 3 1/2 (317 × 89 × 89)
Not inscribed
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Lit: Arnason 1969, repr.112 (bronze); Lipchitz 1972, p.131

The terracotta of this sculpture is in the collection of the University of Arizona Museum of Art (Arizona 1982, 13, repr.) and includes at the top the raised arm of the figure, which has broken off this plaster. Arnason reproduces two other studies for this momument, and in all of them the reliefs, as well as the figure, are only sketched, and evidently had not been considered in detail in subject.

The monument was a commission from Russia, as T03512:

During 1935 I spent some time in Russia, which I had always wanted to visit again. As a result of my early experiences, I had been sympathetic to the Russian revolution, but I must say that my three months' sojourn there disillusioned me. I designed a project for a monument to the Russian revolution, a maquette of dancing figures on a column decorated with reliefs. The dancing figures derived from my sculpture ‘Joy of Life’, and the entire monument was intended to extol the liberation of the Russian people through industry and agriculture. The Soviet Arts Commission was interested in the project and asked me to submit a large sketch. I sent a plaster version, which was not accepted (Lipchitz, loc.cit.).

It is not clear if Lipchitz made the studies on his own account as a suggestion for a commission, or if the commission came first, but he dated them the year before his Russian visit.

[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