PRINT October 1967

The Sculpture of Duchamp-Villon

“HE IS DYING BECAUSE no one believes in him.” This was Bourdelle’s explanation for his Dying Centaur, made in 1914, the same year as Duchamp-Villon’s Horse. These two sculptures are good examples of the backward and forward look of modern sculpture on the eve of World War I. For Duchamp-Villon the powers of mathematics, engineering and the machine were more inspiring and relevant to art and the time than the creatures of ancient myth. Perhaps the Horse has more successfully endured than the Centaur because the term, concept and admiration of horsepower are still with us. For many sculptors, however, it is not the sculpture’s mechanical reference that has proved most viable, but rather the artist’s means of metaphorizing. Less defensible than thematic relevance and influence, but somehow more certain as an explanation of durability is the sculptural excellence of Duchamp-Villon’s work, the

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