Full Details for Lot 173

Sale 2207 Lot 173

Harriet Whitney Frishmuth
(American, 1880-1980)

"Play Days", 1925

patinated bronze
incised signature, copyright-marked, dated and with a "Gorham Founders" mark and inscription "QFED" along side of self-base, a "Graham Gallery, New York" label at bottom.
h. 22-1/2", w. 7-1/2", d. 6"

Provenance: Graham Galleries, New York, New York; Estate of Edward "Ted" L'Engle Baker and Ann McDonald Baker, Jacksonville, Florida.

Literature: Dreiss, Joseph G., "The Sculpture of Harriet Whitney Frishmuth and New York Dance", The Courier, Volume xxix, 1994, pp. 29-40.; Proske, Beatrice Gilman, "Harriet Whitney Frishmuth: Lyric Sculptor", Aristos - The Journal of Esthetics, Volume 2, No. 5, June 1984, pp. 1-5.; Conner, Janis and Rosenkranz, Joel, Rediscoveries in American Sculpture: Studio Works, 1893-1939, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989.

Notes: Frishmuth was born into an affluent Philadelphia family, which afforded her the opportunity to travel and study in Europe. An academically trained sculptor, she had - somewhat unusually - as thorough and complete an education as any male sculptor of the time; she attended classes in Paris with Auguste Rodin, studied with Jean Antoine Injalbert at the Academie Colarossi, and worked with Cuno von Uechtritz-Steinkirch (who was under the patronage of Empress Augusta Victoria) at the Berlin Academy of Arts. Her first exhibition was a plaster bust at the Paris Salon of 1903. Upon her return to the U.S., she attended the Art Students League, studying with Gutzon Borglum and Hermon Atkins MacNeil, and took anatomy/dissection classes at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. She began her sculptural career by producing small, decorative objects, which were well received and soon garnered her considerable attention. In 1912, she took part in an exhibition of women sculptors in New York; by the following year, she had her own studio on Sniffen Court, a warren of old renovated stables where numerous sculptors, including Malvina Hoffman (whose garden fountain "La Frileuse" is offered here as lot 694 ) were neighbors. While the commissions she received were initially diverse in subject, Frishmuth soon began to specialize in bronzes of idealized female nudes. Her most successful works were those that depicted the female figure as active and powerful, with sinuous, flowing lines and smooth surfaces. While some contemporaneous viewers perceived a certain coyness to her figures, others saw them as unabashed modern bacchantes.
Frishmuth was entranced with the lyrical movement of Classical and Modern dance and often engaged members of the Fokine Ballet Troupe; with their innate gracefulness of movement, ability to maintain difficult poses for lengthy periods of time, and athletic figures, the dancers were ideal models for the sculptor. The model for the work presented here was one of the younger students, Madeleine Park, who is whimsically posed with one foot delicately and mischievously extended to nudge a frog. A large-scale version of this work is located in the Sunken Garden of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Frishmuth was elected to the National Academy of Design, becoming a full Academician in 1929. Her papers are conserved at the Department of Special Collections, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.

Estimate $5,000-8,000

**Scattered areas of surface abrading. Some slight oxidation in more deeply modeled areas. Two pressure dents either side of elbow at proper right arm. Originally outfitted for use as a fountain. Rich olive brown patina.
Please see additional images.

Sold for $6,563
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