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Françoise Grossen

natural manila and gray cotton rope
14 1/2 x 93 x 19 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase

The scientific name Anatidae refers to a family of mostly aquatic birds that have relatively heavy bodies, short legs, webbed feet, and a bill with a horny nail at the tip and transverse toothlike ridges on the biting edges. Included in the anatid family are ducks, geese, and swans. The layered, heavy braids of Françoise Grossen's sculpture of natural manila and gray cotton rope suggest a large fowl at rest. The longer we study the sculpture, the less abstract and nonrepresentational it becomes.