Uli Nimptsch

Olympia

c.1953–6

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Not on display

Artist
Uli Nimptsch 1897–1977
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 584 × 1105 × 610 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1956
Reference
T00097

Display caption

From the time of the Renaissance, five hundred years ago, the principal method of teaching art in Europe was for students to work from naked figures posed as models. This Olympia, although not made by a student, is an example of such an exercise. It was made painstakingly, over three years, by the German sculptor Uli Nimptsch, who moved to London in 1939.

The title Olympia links the sculpture to the traditional subject of a posing female nude, like the famous painting of the same title by Edouard Manet (1863). However, its individuality and hairstyle modernised this tradition.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T00097 OLYMPIA c. 1953–6

Inscr. ‘U N’ on figure's left foot.
Bronze, 23×43 1/2×24 (58·5×110·5×61).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1956.
Exh: R.A., 1957 (1468), as ‘Reclining Figure’.
Repr: Royal Academy Illustrated, 1957, pl.85; Sir John Rothenstein, British Art since 1900, 1962, pl.37.

The artist worked on this figure for about three years, from 1953 until 1956 when it was cast. Another cast, now at Liverpool, was exhibited there April–May 1957 (34, the wax repr. on cover) under the title ‘Olympia’.

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

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