Henri Laurens, ‘The Negress’, 1934, Statens Museum for Kunst

French Art 1900-1930 at Statens Museum for Kunst

About Henri Laurens

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 prolific in collage, printmaking, and illustration.

French, 1855-1954, Paris, France