Monday, January 08, 2007

Art Blogging: Paul Manship

Paul Manship (1995-1966) was an Art Deco sculptor. A native of Minnesota, he studied in St. Paul, New York City, and Philadelphia. He won the 1909 Prix de Rome from the American Academy and from his resulting travels, was greatly influenced by Greek, Egyptian, and Etruscan sculpture. Manship simultaneously simplified line and form to the delight of artistic liberals, but appealed to classical conceptions of beauty to the approval of conservative voices.

Manship is most widely recognized in the public today for Prometheus, which stands before Rockefeller Center in New York City. Prometheus, the divine champion of humanity in Greek mythology, is traditionally used as an icon of hope for the human race. This was an uplifting choice by John D. Rockefeller in the midst of the Great Depression.

I'm not trained as an art critic, so please forgive my imprecise terms, but: what is so captivating about Art Deco is its ever present flow. The lines of its works are forever in motion, as seen vividly here in Dancer and Gazelles (1916) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Indian Hunter With His Dog (1926) at the Dayton Art Institute. Manship was fond of depicting idealized visions of Native American life.

Do you see the Etruscan influences?

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