Giacomo Manzù born 1908 [- 1991]
Inscribed with stamp 'FONDERIA MAF MILANO | MANZÙ' on the base between the feet
Bronze, 18 7/8 x 68 x 20 ¾ (48 x 173 x 52.5)
Purchased from the artist through the Hanover Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) with the aid of the CAS 1953
Exh: Manzù, Hanover Gallery, London, May-June 1953 (4) as 'Susanna' 1942-52
Lit: Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, Giacomo Manzù (Milan 1957), p.71, detail of plaster repr. pl.74 as 'Woman Reclining' 1942-53; John Rewald, Giacomo Manzù (London 1966), pp.55, 323
Repr: W.J. Strachan, Towards Sculpture: Maquettes and Sketches from Rodin to Oldenburg (London 1976), p.178
The artist wrote that this sculpture was begun in 1942 and underwent modifications at intervals up to the end of 1952. He only decided at the beginning of 1953 to have it cast in bronze in time for his London exhibition. This is the only cast that was made and the plaster (of which there are photographs in the Gallery files) has been destroyed. The title 'Susanna' is not intended to have any personal or literary significance (letter of 22 July 1953).
He later, in 1954, made another version of this figure known as 'Reclining Woman' or 'Study for Reclining Woman'. There are several further sculptures called 'Susanna', including two more reclining figures made in 1948 (Minervino collection, Milan) and 1949-54 (Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan). Both are rather similar to this in general appearance, but with differences in the pose: for example, one has a raised knee and the other has the body slightly raised, looking over the shoulder, and the legs wider apart.
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, p.482, reproduced p.482