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Germaine Richier

/Works and biography

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Forest Man, Large version
(L'Homme-forêt, grand), 1945–46 (cast 2007)
Dark patinated bronze, 94 x 45 x 45 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice
Gift of the Germaine Richier Family, 2007.147
© Germaine Richier, by SIAE 2008


Forest Man is one of Germaine Richier’s most celebrated and characteristic works. Real trunks of wood and bark, as well as a large leaf found by the artist in the Valais, Switzerland, were collaged onto the clay before casting. Unlike the classical Greek nymph Daphne, who was transformed entire into a laurel tree, Forest Man is half-tree half-human. Whether a metamorphosis will take place, in one direction or another, is not revealed to us. The magic that emanates from this strange sylvan creature, so expressive of the artist’s affinity with un-romantic forces of nature, is its balletic posture—the halting step and the suspended arms. Richier described movement in her figures, with regard to Forest Man and other works of the period, as follows: “I would rather suggest it. My sculpture should give the impression of being still and at the same time about to move” (quoted by the artist’s niece Françoise Guiter in the catalogue of the exhibition Germaine Richier. Retrospective, Saint Paul, Fondation Maeght, 5 April–25 June 1966, p. 33).

credits: Hangar Design Group