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Richier’s sculptures testify to the atmosphere of violence and destruction in European following the Second World War. The pitted and scarred surfaces of the figures, as well as the mutilated facial features, speak eloquently of human suffering. At the same time, the solidity of these personages and their strong expressive presence assert the ultimate survival of humanity despite the legacy of war. The model for this sculpture was an old man who, fifty years before, had posed for Rodin’s sculpture Balzac - an archetypal figure of male potency and creativity that Richier now represented as scarred and decaying.

November 2005