French-born American sculptor Gaston Lachaise was born on March 19, 1882. From 1898 -1904 he studied sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts under Gabriel-Jules Thomas. He began his artistic career as a designer of Art Nouveau decorative objects for the French jeweler René Lalique.
His depiction of the female form has been described as being ‘of a powerful manner’, for his bronze sculptures such as this example – Torso (1912-1927) which was finally bronze cast in 1937. Whilst refining his techniques in European sculpture, Lachaise met the U.S. citizen of French-Canadian descent, Isabel Dutaud Nagel and they moved to the U.S.A. where Lachaise became unequivocally inspired by ‘The American Way’.
In 1918, 8 months after he became a U.S. citizen and married Isabel, Lachaise began his meteoric rise in the New York art world with his first solo show, which was held at the Bourgeois Galleries, which featured his challenging, heroic-sized bronze woman “Elevation”. By the mid-1920s, his genius was recognized by both critics and patrons and he was considered to be the most innovative sculptor in the U.S.A. In early 1935 he was honored with the first retrospective given to a living sculptor at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His brilliant artistic career was cut short by his premature and unexpected death from acute leukemia in mid-October, 1935.
Lachaise described his many sculptured images of female nudes in contrasting terms, referring to them as both: – “vigorous, robust, and massive” … yet in repose, “serene and eternal”.
Ergo, may the vigorous, robust & massive “Torso” become one of Lachaise’s most serene and eternal art forms.