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Fern

1981 Cleo Hartwig Born: Webberville, Michigan 1911 Died: New York, New York 1988 stone 15 3/4 x 8 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (40.0 x 22.2 x 15.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Albert Glinsky 1984.43 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, North Wing


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Cleo Hartwig based Fern on the plant she remembered from her childhood in rural Michigan. In this piece she retained the texture and weightiness of the hard stone and stylized the individual fern fronds in order to express the plant’s formal beauty. Yet despite Fern’s abstracted appearance, the curled fronds suggest balled-up energy and the potential for growth. Indeed, the trio of leaves resembles a family group, in which the two taller “adult” fronds watch protectively over their “child.”

Keywords

Object - foliage - fern

sculpture

stone - serpentine

About Cleo Hartwig

Born: Webberville, Michigan 1911 Died: New York, New York 1988