Henri Gaudier-Brzeska



Henri Gaudier-Brzeska 1891–1915
Derby stone
Object: 851 × 216 × 159 mm
Permanently attached to MDF plinth base 25 x292 × 310mm
Presented by C. Frank Stoop through the Contemporary Art Society 1930

Display caption

This was one of Gaudier-Brzeska’s largest sculptures to date, and was probably carved as a garden ornament. Its style and the pose of the figure reveal his interest in ancient Greek sculpture. The suggestion that the figure is emerging from a block of stone was an effect Gaudier-Brzeska borrowed from the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The subject of a singer was quite rare in sculpture. It might suggest that the sculptor releases life from stone like a singer releasing a song from their body.

Gallery label, April 2021

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Catalogue entry

N04514 SINGER 1913
Not inscribed.
Derby stone, 33 1/2×8 1/2×6 1/4 (85×22×16), including base.
Presented by C. Frank Stoop through the Contemporary Art Society 1930.
Coll: N04514-N04533 were accepted by the Tate Gallery in November 1926 as a permanent loan from the intestate estate of the late Miss Sophie Brzeska through the Treasury Solicitor. They were acquired by C. Frank Stoop in 1930 for presentation.
Exh: London Group, March 1915 (95), as ‘Singer’; Vorticist Exhibition, Doré Galleries, June 1915 (e); Leicester Galleries, May–June 1918 (100); Temple Newsam, Leeds, June–August 1943 (64), as ‘La Chanteuse Triste’; Arts Council, 1956–7 (17), as ‘La Chanteuse Triste’.
Lit: Pound, 1916, pp.89–90, 159, repr. pls. 23 and 24; Ezra Pound in exh. cat., Leicester Galleries, May–June 1918; Gaudier in Ede, 1930, pp.196–7; Palmer in Studio, CLIII, 1957, p.178.
Repr: The Egoist, 1, 16 February 1914, p.80, with No.T.542, as ‘Two Statues’; Ede, 1930, pl.33; Herbert Maryon, Modern Sculpture, 1933, pl.113; Pound, 1957, p.3.

Dated 1913 in Gaudier's list of his works, 9 July 1914, and entitled simply ‘Chanteuse’; it was first exhibited as ‘Singer’. It was first referred to as ‘La Chanteuse Triste’ by Pound in 1916; he wrote of it, 1918, ‘In the Singer we have what may seem an influence from archaic Greek, we have the crossed arms motif...also an elongation possibly ascribable to a temporary admiration of the Gothic.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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