Magazine article Sculpture

NEW YORK: Germaine Richier

Magazine article Sculpture

NEW YORK: Germaine Richier

Article excerpt

NEW YORK Germaine Richier Dominique Levy and Galerie Perrotin

Germaine Richier's recent exhibition, shared by Dominique Levy and Galerie Perrotin, was the first show of the French sculptor's work to be seen in the U.S. since her untimely death in 1959 at the age of 57. Although Richier was associated with major figurative sculptors of the 1950s such as Kenneth Armitage, Lynn Chadwick, and Reg Butler (and less directly with Marino Marini and Alberto Giacometti), her manner of thinking and working were completely her own. With deliberate twists, linear supports, and elemental contortions, the fiercely tripodal Le Berger des Landes (1951), the remarkable Le Griffu (1952), and the sensuously ambiguous La Fourmi (1953) all render the figure in inscrutably distended positions that go beyond typical studio poses. Richier's figures are lean, stalwart, and pulsating with vigor. They suggest the dire complexities of an atmospheric moment-post-World War II polarities in French culture.

Ever since I first saw a Richier sculpture at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris in the late 1980s, I have always regarded her work as important in the way I would regard the work of Abstract Expressionist sculptors in New York, particularly Ibram Lassaw, David Hare, and Theodore Roszak as important. On a formal level, both Richier and Roszak deal with the figure in highly eccentric ways. The connecting point is their rigorously imaginative pursuit of form. In general, sculpture in Europe and America in the late 1940s and '50s tended to move in the direction of expressionism. …

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