Art, Artists, and the Addison: Building a Collection
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The French-born artist, Robert Laurent, met the American artist, collector of folk art, and gallerist Hamilton Easter Field when a young boy in Brittany. Field took the young Laurent under his wing, supervising his studies both in the United States and in Europe. Laurent moved permanently to the U.S. in 1910, embarking on a career as a sculptor, one of the earliest artists to practice the direct carving that gained favor among early twentieth-century sculptors. At Field’s death in 1922, Laurent inherited his mentor’s residences in Brooklyn, New York, and Ogunquit, Maine, where Laurent taught summer school for the rest of his life. He also inherited Fields’ folk art collection which he expanded with his own influential collection.
Although he created abstract work as well as simplified animals and plants, Laurent’s work was largely figurative, whether wood sculptures referencing African and folk art, or later carved stone sculptures that demonstrated a comprehension of pre- Columbian stone art. Like his fellow sculptors, Paul Manship, Chaim Gross, and John Flannagan, his artistic sources were global.
Possibly motivated by the nudes of his contemporary Gaston Lachaise, Laurent turned to the female nude in the 1920s. He carved <i>Seated Nude</i> in alabaster, a stone he used for fifty sculptures between 1920 and 1970. As a scholar recently remarked, “it was in his work in alabaster that he attained his highest level of artistic achievement. Compact and closed in contour, [Laurent]’s nudes possess a voluptuousness intensified by the translucency of the stone, which he polished so that it appeared soft and sensuous.”
This object was included in the following exhibitions:Art, Artists, and the Addison: Building a Collection, Addison Gallery of American Art, 3/30/2004 - 7/31/2004
Taking Shape: Sculpture at the Addison, Addison Gallery of American Art, 9/17/2016 - 3/19/2017
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