Jacques Lipchitz

Study for a Monument

c.1936, cast 1960s

Jacques Lipchitz 1891–1973
Original title
Etude pour monument
Object: 514 x 254 x 222 mm
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982

Not on display

Catalogue entry

T03533 Study for a Monument c.1936

Plaster, partly coated with shellac 20 1/4 × 10 × 8 3/4 (514 × 254 × 222)
Not inscribed
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Lit: Lipchitz 1972, pp.135–6

This is a unique sculpture, which Lipchitz altered after it had been coated with shellac as if finished, adding plaster and working it with a file. No bronze cast is known of a previous version, and it is too large to have been made as a terracotta, and so the original part is a contemporary plaster. It is possible that the plaster alterations were made at a later date, but this is unlikely, and more probable that Lipchitz worked on the plaster soon after it had been cast, but then did not take it further. It is larger than the maquettes of the 1930s and is an advanced study for a sculpture to be exhibited, whether as a bronze or a plaster for a bronze.

The sculpture resembles the ‘Song of the Vowels’, a monumental bronze commissioned in 1931, and derived in subject from studies of musicians playing the harp. However, although the subject of T03533 is difficult to read it is not of harpists, and is closer in appearance to the group of people waving flags at the top of the ‘Study for a Bridge Monument’ of 1936 (Arnason 1969, repr. 119). Lipchitz (loc.cit.) writes of this study as a further case of his wish to make ‘a great architectural sculpture’, a ‘statue on a bridge with flags and people’, which was never realised. It is possible that T03533 continued the general outline of the ‘Song of the Vowels’ without any particular subject in mind, before the group waving flags was seen as a theme.

The plaster has been damaged at the top, where a fragment is missing.

[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