Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 177 - 5 December 2020

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 266

Jacques Lipchitz (France / 1891 - 1973)
Hagar II (or: "Hagar") (1949)


€ 42 000 - 50 000

Another copy is at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California.
"The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz. A Catalogue Raisonné. The American Years 1941-1973" Vol. 2, Alan G. Wilkinson, New York 2000, cf. nr. 439 reprod.
With documentation


Born in Lithuania as the son of a Jewish building contractor, Jacques Lipchitz comes to Paris at the age of 18. He will become an exceptional sculptor who never practices any other discipline. His oeuvre can be seen in the cubist tradition, just like Archipenko and Modigliani. His subjects often go back to great mythical and religious archetypes.

In the book of Genesis, Hagar is the Egyptian handmaid of Sarah, wife of Abraham. Hagar and her son Ishmael are banished by Sarah to the wilderness desert, where they will wander until saved by an angel. Ishmael would become the ancestor of the desert people, the Arabs. Sarah's son Isaac would become the progenitor of the Hebrew people.

Lipchitz brings together two confronting themes in this sculpture. On the one hand, the archetypal sacrifice of the exiled mother and her child, on the other hand, the Jewish-Arab conflict which takes a turning point in the founding of Israel in 1948. Despair takes shape in the distorted figure of Hagar. Her body is fragmented into a tangle of elastic limbs, giving her an almost unreal character. Is her left hand reaching for the sky, or is it averting something? A right arm is protecting Ishmael in a tender gesture.

The artist was clearly fascinated by the figure of Hagar. Lipchitz made three different versions of her, of which this sculpture is the second. In this artwork he wanted to express his hope for brotherhood between Jews and Arabs.

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