Henri Laurens
French, 1855-1954
High auction record
$2m, Christie's, 2008
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
Modern & Post War,
A Taste of Art,
French Art 1900-1930,
Statens Museum for Kunst

Henri Laurens began his career creating wood and polychrome plaster sculptures, drawing on the tenets of Cubism and adopting such typically Cubist subjects as dissected human figures, guitars, and still lifes. For instance, Clown (1915), which drew on Pablo Picassos’s assemblages, consists of juxtaposed spheres, cones, and cylinders. As his career progressed, Laurens shifted toward subtler low-relief terracottas, eventually forsaking his fragmented geometric style in favor of a more natural, curvilinear one. He became known for highly abstract, rhythmic female nudes, often reclining or bathing, made from stone or bronze. Works such as La Grande Sirène (1945) and Amphion (1952) reinterpret themes from Greco-Roman mythology; Laurens approached his sculptures with a vague notion of how they should look, but increasingly succumbed to subconscious inspiration. Besides sculpting, he was also …

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