Curator's comments: Audio (:23)
Strong Woman (Acrobat)
1935
Chaim Gross

lignum vitae
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution.
Gift of the artist, 1972
With permission from the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation

Lignum vitae was one of Gross's favorite woods because of its extreme density. As he stated, "The harder the wood the more pleasure I get from chipping away and exposing the forms that I want." The appearance of tool marks on the entire surface of this sculpture was atypical of the artist's carvings. More commonly, tool marks were used to suggest the contrasting textures of hair or clothing. But here the chisel marks unify the shimmering, tactile surface and define the forms in a manner similar to the crosshatching technique in a drawing.

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