Kunstsammlungen am Theaterplatz
29. Oct 2017 – 4. Mar 2018

Jacques Lipchitz

Jacques Lipchitz
Bildhauer des 20. Jahrhunderts

The Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz am Theaterplatz present 59 sculptures, models and drawings by the Lithuanian-born French-American sculptor Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973). The highlight of the exhibition is the only and oldest preserved plasticine model (1943-45) in the world for the bronze casting Benediction. Following its transfer from the artist’s former studio in the USA, the monumental model is now on public display for the first time.

Jacques Lipchitz, who was born in Lithuania in 1891, is today one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. In 1909 he moved to Paris to study and belonged to the circle of artists around Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964), Juan Gris (1887-1927) and Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920). Thanks to a donation from the Jacques and Yulla Lipchitz Foundation and its president Hanno D. Mott, the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz received 35 works. These are eleven models and 23 drawings by Jacques Lipchitz from the years 1910-1972 and a bronze sculpture of his wife Yulla Lipchitz (1911-2003).

The artist began working on Benediction (Blessing) in New York after he had to leave France in 1941 because of his Jewish origins. The figure plays a song with her harp for his adopted country occupied by the German Wehrmacht. The bronze casting was formerly in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and was exhibited there together with Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. The current location of the bronze is unknown. The plasticine model remained with the artist. The 750 kilogram, 2.13 meter high model is the only known model from the sculptor’s workshop made of the unusual material plasticine. Plastilin allows slow-drying extensive changes during the working process, but is also less durable. The condition of the model on arrival at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz required extensive reconstruction, restoration and conservation. Over a period of three years, the model was examined by five restorers at the Dresden University of Fine Arts and restored as part of a diploma thesis. After the loss of the bronze, it is now the only surviving version of the Benediction.

Lenders of works from the exhibition

Frans Hals Museum, De Hallen Haarlem
Hamburg Art Gallery
Hessian State Museum Darmstadt
Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Zurich Art Gallery
Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg
Museum Folkwang, Essen
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf
State Art Gallery, Karlsruhe
State Gallery Stuttgart
Marlborough International Fine Art

With generous support