Henri Laurens


1948, ?later cast

Not on display

Henri Laurens 1885–1954
Original title
Object: 756 × 1743 × 650 mm
Purchased 1969

Display caption

‘I aspire to a ripeness of form’ Laurens said. ‘I should like to succeed in making it so full, so juicy that nothing could be added.’ This monumental figure is a luxuriant embodiment of nature. Although the title, Autumn, was only added after the work was completed, its bursting forms suggest the fruitfulness of the season. It is one of a number of sculptures Laurens made in the 1940s relating to the traditional odalisque or exotic, reclining female nude.

Gallery label, November 2011

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

Henri Laurens 1885-1954

T01111 L'Automne (Autumn) 1948

Inscribed on upper surface of base '6/6', monogram 'HL' and founder's stamp 'CIRE | C. VALSUANI | PERDUE'
Bronze, 30 x 67 x 24 3/4 (76 x 172.5 x 63)
Purchased from the Galerie Louise Leiris (Special Grant-in-Aid) 1969
Prov: Claude Laurens, Paris; with Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Exh: Henri Laurens: Monumental Sculpture, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York, November-December 1966 (17, repr.); HenriLaurens 1895-1954, Hayward Gallery, London, May-June 1971 (79, repr.); Ulster Museum, Belfast, July-August 1971 (79, repr.)
Repr: Burlington Magazine, XCIII, 1951, p.236 (the plaster); Werner Hofmann and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, The Sculpture of Henri Laurens (New York 1970), pp.204-6

Laurens made a number of sculptures of nude female figures in the late 1930s and 1940s with such titles as 'Morning', 'Night', 'Dawn' and 'Summer'. The title 'Autumn' given to this one was probably suggested mainly by the ripe, luxuriant fullness of the forms, and by the impression that the figure is basking in the sun. The artist's son Claude Laurens writes that, except in very special cases, the sculptures were not titled until they were finished, and then this was done according to whatever the work suggested to his father at that time. He does not think that Laurens deliberately set out to make the hair look like leaves, though this unintentional resemblance may have helped to give him the idea of choosing this title (letter of 3 April 1973).

There are altogether eight bronze casts of this work, an edition of six, an artist's cast and an extra cast marked 'M.N.' made for presentation to the Musee National d'Art Moderne in Paris as part of the Laurens Gift. One cast (1/6) is now in the Kunstmuseum in Basle, one (3/6) in the Nationalgalerie in Berlin and another (4/6) in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

It was preceded by a small version 50cm long which is very similar in form but sketchier.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.410-11, reproduced p.411

You might like

In the shop