Alexander Archipenko (Russian/American, 1887-1964)
15-3/8 x 10 x 8-5/8 in. (39.0 x 25.4 x 21.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection 
Accession Number:
© 2017 Estate of Alexander Archipenko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 
Not on View

Suzanne was completed just as Alexander Archipenko was settling into his life in Paris. The Kiev-born artist had been expelled from the Ukrainian city’s art school for criticizing the academicism of his teachers. When he relocated to the French capital, he moved into an artists’ residence known as “La Ruche” (The Beehive), a cylindrical building built by Gustave Eiffel in which Fernand Léger, Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine, among others, had studios. Archipenko’s interest in primitive art, particularly during this early phase of his career, is on display in Suzanne, as her head, arms, torso and legs are reduced to the simplest of forms. This sculpture was one of the first to break so dramatically from the academic traditions of any three-dimensional media, predating even Constantin Brancusi’s radical forays into sculpture. The present work may refer to the biblical story of Susannah and the Elders, although the disproportionately large thighs and rump, long hair and large breasts of the figure are also seen in contemporary works by Léger, who may have shared the same model.

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