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A sculpture in light brown, polished limestone.

The sculpture is a figure of rounded forms and sharp angles carved from a single piece of stone. Rising from a square base on two legs the figure broadens on the left into a sharp-edged plain with two rounded projections and a small raised disc near the top. A flat edge joins that section to a larger more prominent section with less definition but more pronounced projections both rounded and flat-edged. In the center of the piece is a raised curved section with two horizontal cuts on the left end, above the cuts are three raised horizontal sections.

Gallery Text

Influenced by the fragmentary configurations of artists such as Braque and Picasso, Lipchitz was able to translate into three dimensions the rupture of form that had been essential to analytic cubist painting. Bather, produced at the end of his cubist phase, embodies the relationship between form and space at a moment of transition in his oeuvre. The combination of angular and curving lines and the multiple perspectives they offer are characteristic of cubism’s formal innovations, yet the depth of form and lustrous quality of the stone illustrates Lipchitz’s progression toward open geometric figuration — what he would later call his “transparents.” Lipchitz described a related bronze, Bather (1923–25), as “my farewell to literal cubism, the record of the moment when it was no longer necessary for me to concentrate on the vocabulary of forms, when I could move on to a sculpture of themes and ideas.” From 1925 onward Lipchitz focused primarily on themes of mythology and religion.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Jacques Lipchitz, French (Druskieniki, Lithuania 1891 - 1973 Capri, Italy)
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1300, Modern and Contemporary Art, Early Modernism
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Physical Descriptions

Coarsely crystalline banded limestone
67.3 x 30.5 x 21.6 cm (26 1/2 x 12 x 8 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Carved into base: J Lipchitz '24


Recorded Ownership History
[Buchholz Gallery, New York, New York], sold; to Lois Orswell, Pomfret Center, Connecticut, 1945, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1960.

Note: Documentary evidence suggests Lipchitz sold directly to Valentin.

NOTE: Provenance information from "Lois Orswell David Smith and Modern Art", Harvard University Art Museums, 2002.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Lois Orswell
© The Estate of Jacques Lipchitz
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Publication History

  • Caroline A. Jones, Modern Art at Harvard: The Formation of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press, 1985). With an essay by John Coolidge and a preface by John M. Rosenfield. To accompany the inaugural exhibition at the Sackler Museum, Oct 21 1985 - Jan 5 1986, p. 110, fig. 107, ill. (color)
  • Alan G. Wilkinson, Jacques Lipchitz, 1891-1973, Thames and Hudson, Ltd. (London, England, 1996), p. 69, no. 170
  • Kenneth Wayne, Picasso, Braque, Leger and the Cubist Spirit, 1919-1939, exh. cat., Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME, 1996), p. 32, fig. 21
  • Jonathan Fineberg and Christopher Green, Lipchitz and the Avant-Garde: From Paris to New York, exh. cat., ed. Josef Helfenstein, Krannert Art Museum & Kinkead Pavilion (Urbana-Champaign, 2001), p. 38 (Fig. 1, ill. in b/w), 46
  • Marjorie B. Cohn and Sarah Kianovsky, Lois Orswell, David Smith, and Modern Art, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), pp. 40-41 (repr. color), 331, 373; cat. no.147, fig. 15.

Exhibition History

  • 20th Century Abstract Painting and Sculpture, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 04/16/1947 - 05/18/1947
  • 20th Century Art in New England, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Boston, 05/06/1948 - 06/30/1948
  • A Century of Sculpture, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 03/30/1950 - 05/18/1950
  • Cubism: Explorations and Adaptations, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 09/18/1982 - 10/26/1982
  • Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000
  • Lois Orswell, David Smith, and Modern Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/21/2002 - 02/16/2003
  • 32Q: 1300 Early Modernism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Verification Level

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