The Curtain

Copied George Segal, The Curtain, 1974, mixed media: plaster, glass and painted wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1978.62, (c) 1978, George Segal

Artwork Details

Title
The Curtain
Artist
Date
1974
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
84 1239 1435 12 in. (214.699.790.2 cm.)
Copyright
(c) 1978, George Segal
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums Description
mixed media: plaster, glass and painted wood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Architecture Interior — detail — window
  • Figure female — nude
Object Number
1978.62

Artwork Description

George Segal found the themes for his plaster-cast figures in accidental glimpses of other people's lives. In this piece, the woman's poetic gesture of parting a curtain echoes Segal's sculptural process, as he delicately captures the intimate details of another person's body. The artist wrapped his models in plaster-soaked gauze and used either the rough external form or, as in The Curtain, cast a second figure from the impression inside the casing. His technique demanded that his sitters keep their eyes shut, and the resulting faces remain impassive while the body alone communicates. The contrasts of shadows falling on white plaster and the sense of a fleeting moment frozen in time reflect Segal's reverence for the "miraculous" quality of "ordinary life and ordinary space."