Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Sleeping Fawn

1913, posthumous cast

Not on display

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska 1891–1915
Painted plaster
Object: 114 × 254 × 216 mm
Transferred from the Victoria & Albert Museum 1983

Display caption

In 1913 Gaudier-Brzeska made a carving in Seravezza marble of a sleeping fawn. Like the 'Crouching Fawn' displayed nearby, this was developed from life drawings. Gaudier made a number of such drawings on the same day. The work shown here is a plaster cast based on the original marble. It is among his more naturalistic works, and one of several 'Fawn' sculptures he made. At the celebratory dinner held for the launch of the Vorticist magazine 'Blast' on 15 July 1914, Gaudier could not afford the 10 shilling fee and so paid Ezra Pound with a small 'Fawn' statuette instead.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T03728 Sleeping Fawn 1913

Plaster, painted brown 4 1/2 × 10 × 8 1/2 (114 × 254 × 216)
Not inscribed
Transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum 1983
Prov: Raymond Drey after 1914; Leicester Galleries 1918; presented by Messrs E. Brown and Phillips (The Leicester Galleries) to the Victoria and Albert Museum 1939 (A. 25–1939)
Exh: Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891–1915) Sculptures, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, August–September 1972, City Art Gallery, Leeds, September–October 1972, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, October–November 1972 (30, repr. pl.18); Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Sculptor 1891–1915, Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge, October–November 1983, City Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol, November 1983–January 1984, York City Art Gallery, January–February 1984 (50, repr.)
Lit: Stanley Casson, Some Modern Sculptors, 1928, pp.98 and 109 (bronze cast repr.pl.36 as ‘Fawn’); H.S. Ede, A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska, 1930, pp.170 and 196–7 (marble version repr. pl.xxxvi; Horace Brodzky, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska 1891–1915, 1933, pp.88 and 96; E.H. Ramsden, Sculpture: Theme and Variations, 1953, p.32 (repr. pl.58a); Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891–1915) Sculptures, exhibition catalogue, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, August–September 1972, p.23 (repr. pl.8); Roger Cole, Burning to Speak. The Life and Art of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Oxford, 1978, p.90 (repr.); Serge Fauchereau, ‘Gaudier-Brzeska: Animalist Artist’, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Sculptor 1891–1915, exhibition catalogue, Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge, October–November 1983, p.13 and catalogue entry 50

According to Ede T03728 and T03729 were ‘the result of [a] vision of deer’ in Arundel Park which Gaudier visited for the day with Sophie Brzeska. Cole states that these animal sculptures were ‘created in spare moments and often [given] as presents to friends’ but does not provide evidence for this assertion.

In his list of works Gaudier notes the prices at which he sold his animal sculptures and where no prices are given he does not record having disposed of the works.

T03728 is a unique plaster cast, probably of the original version listed in Gaudier's list of works, which was made from Seravezza marble and belonged to Raymond Drey. Drey purchased the original marble for £5. The marble was exhibited in Twentieth Century Art at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, May–June 1914 (208) and at the Memorial exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1918 (98). According to Ede, by 1930 the marble version belonged to Mrs W.W. Crocker of San Francisco and in 1959 Mr W.W. Crocker confirmed that the work was in his possession.

Between 1918 and 1939 twelve casts in bronze were made of T03728 for the Leicester Galleries as they were required (letter from Oliver Brown, 30 August 1960). In 1952 T03728 was catalogued as 6093 and was erroneously described as having been transferred to the Tate Gallery. According to records at the Victoria and Albert Museum this work was transferred only on ‘permanent long loan’.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986


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