Jacques Lipchitz

The Joy of Orpheus II


Jacques Lipchitz 1891–1973
Original title
Le Bonheur d'Orphée II
Object: 521 x 342 x 254 mm
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982

Not on display

Catalogue entry

T03484 The Joy of Orpheus II 1945–6

Plaster, partly coated with shellac 20 1/2 × 13 1/2 × 10 (521 × 342 × 254)
Not inscribed
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Lit: Bert van Bork, Jacques Lipchitz, The Artist at Work, 1966, repr. p.182 (bronze); Lipchitz 1972, p.168

A bronze cast of this sculpture was exhibited at the Buchholz Gallery, New York, in 1946 (Jacques Lipchitz, March–April 1946, 20). Also included was ‘The Joy of Orpheus I’ 1949 (19, repr.), which is the same composition and size, but has thinner shapes, cut to an edge.

Lipchitz described the subject as a woman seated in a man's lap, the whole composition also resembling the shape of a harp:

Another piece I made before going to Europe was the ‘Joy of Orpheus’, 1945. It has to do with the love of my wife. The woman is sitting on the man's lap. They are happy and her arm is raised in the air; and all of it takes on the form of a harp. I think of it as a very interesting sculpture, poetic and beautiful. It comes so directly from my emotions, although everything I do comes from emotions (Lipchitz, loc.cit.).

A large drawing of the subject was reproduced in 1944 and dated to the preceding year (‘Le bonheur d'Orphée’, tempera, 25 × 19ins. Curt Valentin, The Drawings of Jacques Lipchitz, 1944).

The plaster is probably a cast of 1945–6. It has been repaired with new plaster at two of the feet, probably after damage caused by taking a mould. The outlines of the repair differ slightly from those of the bronze reproduced by van Bork.

[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