Signature: Signed and numbered in pencil in lower margin
Image rights: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions
About Reuben Nakian
Combining ancient subjects with an expressionist style and sexual themes, Reuben Nakian is best recognized for his sculptural bronzes and terra-cotta tondos representing gods, goddesses, and nymphs from Roman and Greek mythology. Rendering such figures in heroic and erotic exploits with spare, painterly lines sculpted in bas-relief, Nakian sought to celebrate love and life in his work. Though his style was visually influenced by Paul Cézanne and Constantin Brancusi, his artistic development was most influenced by Armenian surrealist painter Arshile Gorky. It was Gorky who introduced Nakian to the work of Willem de Kooning, initiating his shift away from realism and toward Expressionism. Works like Voyage to Crete and Cupid and Nymph reflect Nakian’s filtering of ancient mythology through modern aesthetics and his ability to give classical figures new life and sensuality by channeling elements of Abstract Expressionism.
American, 1897-1986, Queens, New York