new-york

Germaine Richier, L’Eau (Water), 1953–54, dark patinated bronze, 57 1/2 x 24 3/4 x 39 3/4".

Germaine Richier

Dominique Lévy/Galerie Perrotin

Germaine Richier, L’Eau (Water), 1953–54, dark patinated bronze, 57 1/2 x 24 3/4 x 39 3/4".

Recently, Dominique Lévy and Emmanuel Perrotin gave over their joint gallery spaces to a challenging, taste-transforming exhibition of more than forty sculptures by Germaine Richier (1902–1959), many of them textbook familiar, others complete revelations. It was the first New York exhibition of the French-born artist’s work in more than a half a century.

In the 1920s, Richier had been a student of Antoine Bourdelle, then the reigning counter-Rodinist, an artist widely admired for a type of “heroic,” quasi-geometric realism that paralleled the monumental platitudes of Aristide Maillol. Richier has long exemplified the kind of student who, if not surpassing her master (though today, most would think she had), certainly became his equal. Her works’ aggressive intrusion of torn, disjunctive patches of space into sheer, unifying mass, for example, seems to turn inside out the tamped-down

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