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Henri Laurens

/Works and biography

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Head of a Young Girl (Tęte de jeune fillette),
1920 (cast 1959)
Terra-cotta, 34.2 x 16.5 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 27
© Henri Laurens, by SIAE 2008


Henri Laurens, who associated closely with the avant-garde painters of his native Paris, worked in a Cubist idiom from 1915. In about 1920 he turned from the production of bas-reliefs and frontalized constructions to the execution of more classically ordered, freestanding sculptures. Head of a Young Girl may have appeared originally as a drawing. However, in this bust Laurens expresses Cubist painting principles in essentially sculptural terms. The tilted surfaces and geometric volumes of the sculpture interpenetrate to constitute a compact whole. Circling the piece, the viewer perceives dramatically different aspects of the head, which provide a variety of visual experiences unexpected in a form so schematically reduced. Despite the geometric clarity of structure, the delicacy of the young girl’s features and her self-contained pose create a gentle, meditative quality.

credits: Hangar Design Group