American Modern: Hopper to O'Keeffe

Elie Nadelman (American, born Poland, 1882–1946)
Woman at the Piano
c. 1917
Wood, stained and painted
35 1/8 x 23 1/4 x 9" (89.2 x 59.1 x 22.9 cm)
The Philip L. Goodwin Collection

Elie Nadelman. Woman at the Piano. c. 1917

Wood, stained and painted, 35 1/8 x 23 1/4 x 9" (89.2 x 59.1 x 22.9 cm). The Philip L. Goodwin Collection. © Estate of Elie Nadelman

Director, Glenn Lowry: Elie Nadelman collected folk art—an interest that influenced works like this one.

Assistant Curator, Kathy Curry: It’s a wood figure that is rubbed with paint and other pigments and gesso to bring out the colors in her cheeks and nose.

It really harkens back to another time. It doesn’t feel as modern. It’s interesting also to think about how she might be tapping her foot or using the pedal and her hands are very whimsical. Even though she’s sort of frozen there’s still action within.

Glenn Lowry: Nadelman often sought to capture such expressive gestures. His sculptures, composed of sleek, elemental shapes, transform the fleeting activity of vaudeville performers and society figures into timeless, idealized forms.

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