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Press Room

4/29/2002

Smithsonian American Art Museum Acquires Important Nadelman Sculpture

Contact: Laura Baptiste
.BaptisteL[at]si.edu
Media only: (202) 275-1595
American Art's Web site: AmericanArt.si.edu
Recorded information: (202) 633-8998


The Smithsonian American Art Museum has acquired "Dancer (High Kicker)," from about 1918–1919, by Elie Nadelman (1882–1946). This painted cherry wood and gesso sculpture is a partial and promised gift of Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan of Washington, D.C. She has served as vice-chair of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Board of Commissioners since 2000.

"I am delighted that Nadelman's 'Dancer (High Kicker)' will have a permanent home at the Smithsonian American Art Museum," said Kaplan. "As the museum embarks on an ambitious acquisitions campaign, I think it is important that all of the museum's supporters actively participate."

"This Nadelman sculpture characterizes all that is exceptional in American art—the high spirits of our artists, the cross-fertilization of the popular and fine arts, and the incredible energy brought here by immigrants," said Elizabeth Broun, the museum's Margaret and Terry Stent Director. "When the museum's renovated galleries reopen, 'Dancer (High Kicker)' will enliven the story of early 20th-century America."

Nadelman's deep affinity for folk art's wit and spontaneity shaped the sophisticated series of carved and painted figures he created between 1916 and 1920. "Dancer (High Kicker)" combines his enthusiasm for American folk art and popular culture with his interest in simplified forms inspired by archaic sculpture. This rare unique wood sculpture joins his bronze "Dancing Figure" (about 1916–1918) and four works on paper in the museum's collection.

"'Dancer (High Kicker)' is an exquisite example of the wood sculpture for which Nadelman is most celebrated today," said Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, chief curator at the museum. "It is a landmark work, marking a key moment in American art when a modern aesthetic was just emerging."

Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan, a dedicated champion of the arts in the nation's capital, has served on the museum's Commission since 1992. In the late 1980s, Kaplan established an endowed fund to support the museum's program dedicated to contemporary art. She and her husband, Louis (Beau) Kaplan, collectors of American modernist art, have supported important museum exhibitions, acquisitions and programs. She is president of the Lichtenberg Family Foundation which supports fine arts, education and health care.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 39,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, folk art and contemporary crafts.

While the renovation of the museum's historic home—the Patent Office Building—continues, American Art offers a full program of exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W.). For information about Renwick Gallery activities, call (202) 357-2700. Please visit the museum's award-winning Web site at AmericanArt.si.edu.