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Figure, 1917

Alexander Archipenko

Russian/American, 1887-1964
Gouache, watercolor and pencil on wove paper
14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.191
© 2014 Estate of Alexander Archipenko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

Alexander Archipenko was born in Kiev, Ukraine, but moved to Paris by age 22. His contact with the burgeoning style of Cubism and the movement toward abstraction led the artist to discontinue his training at the conservative École des Beaux-Arts. Instead, he studied independently at museums around the city and began to exhibit—mostly sculpture—alongside Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger, among others. When World War I began, Archipenko moved to the south of France, but because he did not have a studio, he worked primarily in two-dimensional media. Figure dates to this time and relates a new technique the artist called “sculpto-painting”—a method of creating reliefs using glass, wood, and metal. In 1923 the Archipenkos moved to New York and it was in the American metropolis where the collector and champion of European modernism, Galka Scheyer, came to know the artist. When he presented Scheyer with this work, he inscribed it “to Mrs. Scheyer” and dated it “1924 New York”.

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