Robert Laurent

Mother and Child, ca. 1924, alabaster relief in wood frame, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John N. Stern, 1996.89A-B Robert Laurent (June 29, 1890 – April 20, 1970) was a French-American modernist figurative sculptor, printmaker and teacher. His work, the ''New York Times'' wrote,"figured in the development of an American sculptural art that balanced nature and abstraction." Widely exhibited, he took part in the Whitney's 1946 exhibition ''Pioneers of Modern Art''. Credited as the first American sculptor to adopt a "direct carving" sculpting style that was bolder and more abstract than the then traditional fine arts practice, which relied on models, Laurent's approach was inspired by the African carving and European avant-garde art he admired, while also echoing folk styles found both in the U.S. and among medieval stone cutters of his native Brittany. Best known for his virtuoso mastery of the figure, Laurent sculpted in multiple media, including wood, alabaster, bronze, marble and aluminum. His expertise earned him major commissions for public sculpture, most famously for the ''Goose Girl'' for New York City's Radio City Music Hall, as well as for ''Spanning the Continent'' for Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. After the Depression, he was also the recipient of several Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project commissions under the New Deal, including a bas-relief called ''Shipping'' for the exterior of Washington, D.C.'s Federal Trade Commission Building, commissioned by the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts in 1938. Provided by Wikipedia
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