Jacques Lipchitz (Druskininkai, 1891– Capri, 1973)
Paris, circa 1917
Stone, 107 x 37.5 x 37.5 cm
mahJ, gift of Rubin Lipchitz
Jacques Lipchitz (Druskininkai, 1891– Capri, 1973), Bather, Paris, circa 1917, gift of Rubin Lipchitz
Chaim Jacob Lipschitz, known as Jacques Lipchitz, was born into a well-to-do Jewish family in Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire. A wave of pogroms decided his parents to send him to secondary school in Vilna. Aged eighteen, he arrived in Paris in 1909 against his father’s will and enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts, studying modelling in Jean-Antoine Injalbert’s studio. In 1910 he attended Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi and moved into La Ruche (The Beehive), an artists’ colony whose low-rent studios attracted a host of foreign artists. In 1913 he was initiated to Cubism by Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso and Max Jacob but did not produce his first truly Cubist sculptures until 1914-1915. In 1917 he signed his first contract with the art dealer Léonce Rosenberg, whose Galerie L’Effort moderne promoted Cubism and showed Albert Gleizes, Henri Laurens, Fernand Léger and Diego Rivera. Lipchitz went on to become one of the great masters of Cubist sculpture.
The rigorous construction of this work, part of his Bathers series, transcends its simplification of the forms of the human body in its association of geometric volumes around a vertical axis. Its dating is problematic due to its unfinished state.
This sculpture was generously donated to the mahJ in 1993 by the artist’s brother, Rubin Lipchitz, who also donated a bronze, Mother and Child (1940), and archives comprising some 1,400 drawings, photographs, correspondence, etc.