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Elie Nadelman (1882-1946): Prints and Drawings


Zabriskie Gallery exhibits Elie Nadelman (1882-1946): Prints and Drawings. Included in the show will be works on paper of mostly head and figurative studies made by the artist during the 1920s, in graphite, ink, and drypoint. 

Elie Nadelman was born in Warsaw in 1882. In 1904 he arrived in Paris as a young art student, where he soon exhibited in the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Independants. In 1909 he had his first show at the Galerie Druet. The show was a grand success. His second exhibition (Paterson's Gallery, London, 1911) caused a sensation and was bought in its entirety by Helena Rubenstein who became Nadelman's major patron. 

Most of the drawings in this show date back to 1921, when Nadelman summered at his friend Henry Sleeper's residence in Beauport, Massachusetts. They are sure and facile renderings of figures and heads, in profile and full view, with various hair buns and hatchings associated with his later mannered, cherrywood sculptures made between 1916-1919. Often they are stylized, idealized forms that are androgynous if not for the detail of hairstyles, which fascinated Nadelman. The drawings fall into two styles, a meticulous neoclassicism and a "witty, exaggerated" shorthand. The industrious use of line and formal means which he employed itself owes to engravers' methods. In Beauport, the artist had reworked and drawn over some of the drypoints he had made in 1920, when his wife was confined with pneumonia and Nadelman bought a small press to work with in her room at the Hotel Gotham, where they were staying temporarily. There he experimented and made his first prints. The Metropolitan Museum of Art alone owns a complete set of Nadelman's known drypoints in all their states. Often, they were unevenly and unprofessionally inked, and the results marking the hand of a gifted amateur show in these few lifetime impressions. After the artist died in 1946, two dozen of the original copper and zinc plates were found carefully wrapped in cloth. Later, in 1951, the plates were pulled in a small edition by the master printer Charles S. White. Only then did Nadelman's drypoints appear in all their brilliant mastery and clarity. The trained draughtsmanship evident in his drawings fluidly translated into print, retaining the ordered invention and authority of his graphic prowess. 

This seventh exhibition of Nadelman works at Zabriskie is concurrent with Elie Nadelman: Sculptor of Modern Life, on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art from April 3 - July 20, 2003.

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