Defiance

Media - 1971.124 - SAAM-1971.124_1 - 64751
Copied Albert Laessle, Defiance, 1939, bronze, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the heirs of Albert Laessle: Mrs. Albertine de Bempt Laessle, Mr. Albert M. Laessle and Mr. Paul Laessle, 1971.124

Artwork Details

Title
Defiance
Date
1939
Dimensions
3116 3827 12 in. (78.641.669.8 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of the heirs of Albert Laessle: Mrs. Albertine de Bempt Laessle, Mr. Albert M. Laessle and Mr. Paul Laessle
Mediums
Mediums Description
bronze
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal — bird — eagle
  • Animal — reptile — snake
Object Number
1971.124

Artwork Description

For many years, Albert Laessle worked out of a country studio, allowing animals such as chickens and goats to be a part of his daily routine. Laessle's fascination with animals started when he was a boy and a classmate brought a snapping turtle into science class. The entire class crowded around the turtle, watching its every move. Close study of animals was crucial to Laessle's artistic process, whether he was observing them in their natural habitat or in the Philadelphia Zoo. He wanted to understand completely the spirit of the animal he was portraying, and often gave them almost human characteristics. In Defiance, Laessle depicted a powerful eagle with an air of dignity and spirit by emphasizing the bird's rigid posture and wind-blown plumage.

Luce Object Quote
"To do anything with animals, you have to know your subject. Looking at it from the safe side of iron bars won't give you much information. That's why I've never made a lion." Albert Laessle, quoted in the Gainsville Sun, 1972