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Loïe Fuller, The Dancer

Raoul François Larche
(French, 1860–1912)

1900. Bronze, 18 1/8 x 10 1/8 x 9 1/8" (45.7 x 25.5 x 23.1 cm)

Raoul François Larche was one of a number of artists inspired by the American dancer and choreographer Loïe Fuller. In his sinuous Art Nouveau sculpture, Loïe Fuller, The Dancer, he captures the exuberance of her performances.

A dazzling presence on stage, Fuller became famous in America for her Serpentine Dance (1891). But she received such an adoring reception by the French that she moved to Paris, where she became a regular performer at the Folies Bergère, a famed cabaret. She performed in enormous lengths of fabric that she would send billowing and swirling around her body as she twirled across the stage. The fabric would catch and reflect the multicolored lights she set up, creating a spectacular effect and earning her the nickname, the “Electric Fairy.” Here Larche sculpts Fuller as an almost goddess-like figure, commanding waves of fabric that fly weightlessly above her head and around her lithe body.

The art of creating and arranging dances or ballets; a work created by this art. A person who creates choreography is called a choreographer.

A three-dimensional work of art made by a variety of means, including carving wood, chiseling stone, casting or welding metal, molding clay or wax, or assembling materials.

A representation of a human or animal form in a work of art.

An international, middle-class artistic movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that emphasized the unity of the arts and sought to reflect the intensive psychic and sensory stimuli of the modern city. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, the movement’s chief manifestations were in design, performance art, and architecture. Variants in cities throughout Europe and the US accrued labels such as Arte Nova, Glasgow Style, Stile Liberty, and Arte Modernista. The version commonly referred to as Art Nouveau flourished in France and Belgium and was characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms. Its more rectilinear counterpart, called Jugendstil or Secession style, flourished concurrently in Germany and Central Europe.