Born in Kyiv in 1887, Archipenko was one of the most influential sculptors of the twentieth century.
He moved to Paris in 1908 and joined the avant-garde artist colony of ‘La Ruche’ in Montmartre, quickly becoming friends with Amadeo Modigliani, Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Leger, Albert Gleizes and fellow Ukrainian Sonia Delaunay.
First developed just a year previously by Picasso and Braque, Cubism was growing in popularity at this time and its followers, including Archipenko, were pushing artistic boundaries to develop their own avant-garde style.
Archipenko was an innovator of Cubist sculpture, adapting the style’s principals from canvas to bronze. Crucial to this was the disturbance of space and shape. In ‘Statue on a Triangular Base’ the artist toys with the notion of negative space and receding forms. The abstracted figure is a medley of concave and convex forms. From every angle the sculpture transforms, revealing a new plane and perspective. Smooth curves are contrasted against defined angles to create a dynamic energy, movement and rhythm.
This sculpture was cast by Archipenko’s wife, Frances, and gifted to the Museum of Modern Art where it remained until it was recently deaccessioned The sculpture has featured in several important exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art’s 1970 presentation of the artist’s Parisian years. In the accompanying catalogue the famed critic Katherine Kuh described how “his greatest contribution was metaphysical. He made what is, seem what is not. It was the duality of vision that interested him, less the image itself than our reaction to the image. Turning total voids into solid form, he also discovered that surrounding space could become as potent as dense mass”.
Archipenko’s Parisian years (1908 – 1921) are often heralded as his greatest, with this present work being an exceptional example from that period.
Frances Archipenko Gray, New York Museum of Modern Art, New York (gifted from the above in 1969)
York, Perls Galleries, Alexander Archipenko: Bronzes, 29 September - 24
October 1959, p.10 (another cast exhibited)
Munich, Galerie Stangl, Alexander Archipenko,
14 February - 4 April 1964, no.12 (another cast exhibited)
Los Angeles, The University of California Art
Gallery, Alexander Archipenko: A Memorial Exhibitio', 24 February - 9
April 1967, no. 20 (another cast exhibited and illus.)
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Archipenko:
The Parisian Years, 20 July - 18 October 1970, no.10
Ontario, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Alexander
Archipenko: The American Years, January - February 1971
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Sculpture
of the 20th Century: 1900-1945, 4 July - 4 October 1981
Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Medio siglo de
escultura, 30 November - 23 December 1981
Tel Aviv Museum, Archipenko: The Early Works:
1910-1921, The Erich Goeritz Collection at The Tel Aviv Museum, 1981, pl.15
(another cast exhibited and illus.)
Les Soirées de
Paris, Paris, 15 June
1914, no.25, p.347 (plaster cast illus.)
Ivan Goll, Alexander Archipenko: Retrospektive Ausstellung,
Potsdam, 1921, pl.11 (plaster cast listed and titled Femme)
Ivan Goll, 'Archipenko,' Horizont, Vienna, 1921, no.26, p.78
(plaster cast illus.)
Ivan Goll, 'Archipenko,' Ma: Aktivista-Folyóirat, vol.VI, no.6, 25
April 1921, p.78 (plaster cast listed)
Hans Hildebrandt, Alexander Archipenko: Son Oeuvre, Berlin, 1923,
pl.19 (plaster cast illus and titled Statuette)
Lioubomir Mitzitch, Archipenko: Plastique Nouvelle, Belgrade, 1923,
no.17 (plaster cast listed and titled Femme)
Alexander Archipenko, Archipenko: Fifty Creative Years, 1908-1958,
New York, 1960, pl.143 (another cast illus.)
Giovanni Sangiorgi and Gino Severini, Alexander Archipenko, Rome,
1963, no.12, pl.7 (another cast illus.)
Frederick S. Wight and Donald H. Karshan, Alexander Archipenko: A
Memorial Exhibition 1967-1969, Oakland, 1967, p.46 (another cast listed)
Donald H. Karshan, Archipenko: International Visionary, Washington,
D.C., 1969, no.19, pl.62 (another cast illu.)
Donald H. Karshan, Archipenko: The Sculpture and Graphic Art,
Tubingen, 1974, pp.65 and 161, illus.
Alicia Legg, ed., Painting and Sculpture in The Museum of Modern Art.
Catalogue of the Collection, New York, 1977, p.10, illus.
Katherine Jánszky Michaelson and Nehama Guralnik, Alexander Archipenko:
A Centennial Tribute, Washington D.C., 1987, pp.121 and 159 (another cast
Alicia Legg, ed., Painting and Sculpture in The Museum of Modern Art,
New York, 1988, p.8
Alexander Archipenko Foundation, ed., Alexander Archipenko Catalogue
Raisonné, 2018, fig. S.14-06B, no. 2845 (online)