Marcel Jean. Specter of the Gardenia. 1936

Marcel Jean

Specter of the Gardenia

1936

Medium
Plaster head with painted black cloth, zippers, and strip of film on velvet-covered wood base
Dimensions
13 7/8 x 7 x 9 7/8" (35 x 17.6 x 25 cm) including base 3" high x 7" diameter (7.5 x 17.6 cm)
Credit
D. and J. de Menil Fund
Object number
229.1968
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Marcel Jean has 10 works online.
There are 1,531 sculptures online.

With zippers for eyes and a filmstrip collar around its neck, this figure composes an anxious portrait, but its tactile surface of black cloth, faded red velvet, and zippers is charged with the eroticism of imagined touch. Jean originally called this work Secret of the Gardenia after an old movie reel he discovered, along with the velvet stand, at a Paris flea market. As the artist later recalled, Surrealism's leader André Breton "always pressed his friends to center their interest on Surrealist objects," and "he made a certain number himself." Chance discoveries like the movie reel and velvet stand that inspired this work provided a trove of uncanny items for Surrealists to include, combine, and transform in their works.

Gallery label from The Erotic Object: Surrealist Sculpture from the Collection, June 24, 2009–January 4, 2010

Licensing of MoMA images and videos is handled by Art Resource (North America) and Scala Archives (all other geographic locations). All requests should be addressed directly to those agencies, which supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.