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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

In the Living Room

German sculptures from World War I and II come to the city.

Published: February 6, 2014 12:02:54 am
Torso by Alexander Archipenko; Henry Moore’s Family Group Torso by Alexander Archipenko; Henry Moore’s Family Group


Coinciding with the German President Joachim Gauck’s visit to India is an exhibition titled “European Modern Sculptures” at the German Embassy. As one-dimensional as the name sounds, conceptually, these sculptures have a bundle of history packed with them. Part of an ensemble at the National Gallery, Berlin, these 27 bronze sculptures include works by Hans Arp, Karl Hartung, Henri Laurens, Henry Moore and Renee Sintenis.

The Chief Custodian of the National Gallery, Britta Schmitz, handpicked the sculptures for a temporary display in the Ambassador’s residence. These palm size artworks give an insight into the development, themes and socio-cultural scene of the 20th century in Europe. “The exhibition serves as a dialogue between European and Indian Modernism. The sculptures portray Abstract Expressionist representations of desolate women and families from the lower bracket, in the aftermath of the war. It’s not so much an exposition but for us, it is about living and breathing with these art pieces,” said Ambassador Michael Steiner.

There is Ukrainian artist Alexander Archipenko’s Torso, a voluptuous view of the naked body of a woman, neck down. As with most Cubist artwork, a profile view reveals it to be geometrically flat. Henry Moore’s Family Group is a take on a family portrait. “Family was the only unit seen with the potential to grow,” says Schmitz. Renee Sintenis’ Berlin Bear is the National Gallery’s most economically viable artwork, as they own the royalties. “We use this money exclusively for the acquisition of contemporary artwork, to encourage raw talent,” says Schmitz.

The exhibition will be inaugurated at the German Embassy, Chanakyapuri today. Entry is by invitation only. Write to or call 44199135 for a tour.

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