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American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Elie Nadelman, American, born Poland, 1882–1946

Classical Head

ca. 1916–17


14 1/2 × 9 1/2 × 10 3/4 in. (36.8 × 24.1 × 27.3 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Francis P. Garvan
Elie Nadelman was interested in distilling forms to their ideal relationships. He asserted that aesthetic beauty is all art could convey; to attempt to express psychological states or to imitate nature doomed art to failure. The sculpture’s chiseled features, the schematically patterned coiffure, and the fragmentary nature of the head—as if it had been broken off from a full figure—recall ancient Greek models.
Made in New York, United States
On view
20th century

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 108, fig. 102.

Richard Brettell, Paul Hayes Tucker, and Natalie H Lee, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Paintings in the Robert Lehman Collection (Princeton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009), 288, fig. Fig. 1.

“The Explainers,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2013): 50.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.