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Boris Lovet-Lorski

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Boris Lovet-Lorski
The Royal Academy, The Academy of Art in St. Petersburg Sculptor
American, (December 25, 1894–1973)
Boris Lovet-Lorski was born in Lithuania in 1894. He studied architecture at Royal Academy in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) from 1914-1916 and at the conclusion of World War I he spent time in Berlin and Holland. In 1920 he immigrated to Boston.

Shortly after settling in Boston, the Grace Horn Gallery held a solo exhibition of his sculpture and drawings. After a brief period of living in New York City, Lovet-Lorski spent two years teaching at the Layton Art School in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Art Institute). In 1925 he became a United States citizen.

Lovet-Lorski was a forceful protagonist of the Art Deco tradition. He established his reputation with solo exhibitions of figurative and portrait sculptures in the later half of the 1920s at the Reinhardt Galleries, Wildenstein Galleries, Jacques Seligmann Galleries, and Grand Central Galleries in New York. His distinct Art Deco style combined classical nudes witha host of influences, capturing the characteristics of his sitters even as he often eschewed realistic anatomy, often eliminating facial detailing and rendering female figures with impossibly narrow hips to retain the elegance of the lines. His bronze female figures with boyish hips and bodies broadening as they rise to the shoulders and wide-spread arms held behind their heads are reminiscent of flowers on a stem. These women were created by the artist to be mechanized, gleaming and streamlined like the latest airplanes, motorcars and other machines worshiped by 20th Century technology and finding particular expression in Art Deco.

In late 1925, Lovet-Lorski began to spend more time in Paris where he received considerable attention in the Salons. By 1929 he maintained studios New York, Rome, and Paris. In Rome, he was commissioned to create portraits for the Italian royal family (1929). His high style and the allure of his materials brought him commissions for portraits of high society and celebrated figures. During his adult life, he lived in New York City, Paris, and Los Angeles, eventually settling in Beverly Hills in 1932, mingling with international socialites.

Although much of his work was pure Art Deco, he also received commissions of political figures which he rendered in realistic style. Commissions included a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in Decatur, Illinois, a bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt for the city of Paris in 1949; and busts of Charles DeGaulle, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John Foster Dulles for Paris in 1959. He was commissioned to complete a bronze bust of John Foster Dulles for the Washington Dulles International Airport in 1963, a bronze bust of John F. Kennedy for Brandeis University in 1965, and the Manila War Memorial, Philippines, in 1957. However, his preferred imagery was allegorical figures, horses, and nudes.

Lovet-Lorski was known to work with rare materials, letting the characteristics of his selection dictate his process. In addition to more the traditional materials such as bronze, stone, clay and Carrara marble, Lovet-Lorski used materials including onyx, jade, black marble, granite, slate, copper, pewter, plaster, and wood from a 600-year old Assyrian lemon tree. He patterned the subjects of his sculptures to suit the nature of the material. The Belgian black marble of Head of a Woman is a dark and impenetrable stone that complements the inscrutable features of the figure. God Unknown, one of his most well-known works, employs the pure white Carrara marble in a finish typical of Lovet-Lorski's sculpture. His preferred exterior, "like polished silk," adds to the serene self-possession that many of his sculptures convey.

He also made lithographs and drawings with strong Cubist influences. In later years, arthritis forced him to make clay casts for his bronze sculptures, before eventually transitioning to painting. His last major work was the Manila War Memorial. As he was completing the memorial in 1957, arthritis crippled him to the point that he could no longer sculpt. During his lifetime several illustrated books featuring his work were published, including Lithographs of Lovet-Lorski, Tribute to Women and Sculpture, and Lovet-Lorski.

He received the French Legion of Honor in 1950. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, the National Sculpture Society, the Society of Independent Artists and the Salons of Paris. In Europe his work is held in the collections of the Musee Luxembourg, the Biblioteque Nationale; the Petit Palais, Paris, and the British Museum in London. His work is in many museums and galleries in the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, Dumbarton Oaks, San Diego Museum of Art. Retrospectice exhibitions of Lovet-Lorski's art were organized by Wildenstein Gallery in 1940, the Syracuse University School of Art in 1967, and the Finch College Museum of Art in 1972.

Artist Objects

Torso 2015.116

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