New York

Jacques Lipchitz

The Jewish Museum

Jacques Lipchitz’s sculpture reflects the difficulties that a conservative, essentially representational artist found himself in when faced with the innovations of Modernism. He initially attempted to reconcile conventional modeling—the human hand intensifying human meaning—with then-unconventional Cubist abstraction, which converted the figure into an ironic suggestion that mocked its human interest and ultimately into a “transcendental” construction that canceled it out altogether. In midcareer, however, Lipchitz fell back on the modeled figure as a humanistic end in itself. He came to see abstraction as a way of enhancing the figure—of making it archetypal—rather than of dispensing with it by elaborating it as a play of forms. His later expressionistic art became problematic when it no longer bore any relationship to advanced artistic concerns. Lipchitz became blind to the issue

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