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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Sculpture: 20th century: Abandoned

Albert Laessle
bronze on marble base
3 7/8 x 4 1/2 x 5 3/4 in. (10.0 x 11.4 x 14.5 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the heirs of Albert Laessle: Mrs. Albertine de Bempt, Mr. Albert M. Laessle and Mr. Paul Laessle
"I have a great deal of success in handling animals . . . Perhaps it is because of my sympathy for them, and because I treat them kindly." Albert Laessle, International Studio, 1924

Albert Laessle enjoyed working with animals so much that he eventually bought a studio in the country where he could keep his own. His subject matter was not always taken as seriously as that of other sculptors; even as an animal sculptor his choice of insects, lizards, frogs, and snails was uncommon among professional sculptors of his day. But it is precisely that uncommon element that makes Laessle's work special and continues to give it a unique, imaginative spark. Unlike some artists who chose to sculpt animals for their decorative value, Laessle chose them for their expressive potential. Some pieces, such as Abandoned, a bronze of a young wildcat, depict the suffering of a helpless animal in a particularly dramatic and sentimental way.

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