Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Ovid’s Metamorphoses tells of Daphne, a chaste nymph who is pursued by the god Apollo. In order to rescue her, her father, a river god, turns her into a laurel tree. Like many painters and sculptors before her, Sintenis represents the dramatic moment of transformation. The surface of the bronze is roughly textured, more like a tree’s bark than human skin. The upward pull of Daphne’s body is heightened by her raised arms, upturned palms, which are imprinted with vein-like foliage, and her hair, which has become arrow-like leaves. An accomplished Berlin-based sculptor and engraver, Sintenis was best known for small bronzes and terracottas of young animals; Daphne represents a departure from her previous small-scale work. The sculpture was originally commissioned for the garden of the Museum of Art and History in Lübeck, Germany. This is one of four casts.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Renée Sintenis, German (Glatz (now Klodzko, Poland) 1888 - 1965 Berlin, Germany)
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1510, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art In Germany Between the Wars
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Physical Descriptions
143.2 x 31.1 x 27 cm (56 3/8 x 12 1/4 x 10 5/8 in.)
with base: 152.7 x 31.1 x 27 cm (60 1/8 x 12 1/4 x 10 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: below proper left heel, in artist's hand: RS
  • stamp: below heel, near bottom edge: H NOACK BERLIN
Private Collection. [Fine Arts Associates, Inc., New York], sold; to Charles and Hetty Kuhn, 1959; Mrs. Hetty S. Kuhn, gift; to the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1959.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Mrs. Charles L. Kuhn
© Renée Sintenis / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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dark golden-brown patina
Publication History

Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 80, repr.

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 354, p. 299, repr.

Exhibition History

Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980

Making Myth Modern: Primordial Themes in German 20th-Century Sculpture, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 07/14/2007 - 12/30/2007

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1510 German Expressionist Sculpture, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Private Practice, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/27/2015 - 01/12/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at