On view in the Mary D.B.T. Semans Great Hall
Two important modern sculptures are on view in the Nasher Museum’s Great Hall, on loan from the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. A 1967 painted bronze work by Joan Miró (1893-1983) serves as introduction to the special ticketed exhibition, Miró: The Experience of Seeing. This sculpture was a favorite of Raymond D. Nasher, collector and founder of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas. He was taken with the work’s playfulness and in 2003 was quoted as saying, “This is a particularly whimsical and humorous sculpture, and you can’t help smiling when you see it. It also shows the way the artist thought and worked. It is put together from all kinds of different objects: the green body of the figure is [cast from] an ironing board, the head is a straw hat, and the stomach is a tortoise shell. On the back are two bocce balls. Miró was inspired by found objects and used them freely in his work.”
A bronze work by German-born artist Max Ernst (1891–1976) is made of found household objects. Ernst constructed The King Playing with the Queen by assembling objects into a figural composition and then casting them in plaster, a process he used for many of his sculptures from the mid-1940s. The sculpture was not cast in bronze until 1954. Ernst was part of the Surrealist movement, and this work references the group’s love for the game of chess. A large, horned king rises up from a chessboard, dominating the other pieces. The king is playing the game (seemingly without an opponent), and he is also one of the game pieces. His right arm reaches around and in front of the much smaller queen, either protecting or controlling her. In his left hand, the king has concealed another playing piece behind his back.
ABOVE: Max Ernst, The King Playing with the Queen, 1944 (cast 1976). Bronze, 37 7/8 x 33 x 21 1/8 inches (96.2 x 83.8 x 53.7 cm). Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, New York / ADAGP, Paris, France. Photo by J Caldwell.
TOP: Joan Miró, Caress of a Bird (La Caresse d’un oiseau), 1967. Painted bronze, 123 × 43 1/2 × 19 inches (312.4 × 110.5 × 48.3 cm). Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas. © Successió Miró / 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, New York / ADAGP, Paris, France. Photo by J Caldwell.
On view at the Campus Drive entrance: Ulrich Rückriem, Untitled, 2004. Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas. On view on the front lawn: Mark di Suvero, In the Bushes, 1970-75. Painted steel. Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas.