New York

Antoine Bourdelle

Hirschl & Adler Modern

It was an excellent idea to hold a show of work by Antoine Bourdelle, and better still to place the emphasis in it on his output during the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th—after that, Bourdelle’s energies were largely taken up with huge monumental commissions of an official,not merely a public nature, and this meant that they could not be problematic works: whatever problems they might have occasioned were inevitably decided in advance by the nature of an official commission. It was requisite that they perpetuate certain values as it were unthinkingly, and while the very perpetuation of these values must have given rise to certain doubts—since, inevitably, one had to convince oneself that they were credible—doubts were simply overridden by the primordial necessity of perpetuating the values. Bourdelle’s late work is really a kind of propaganda, and effective

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