Paul Manship (American, 1885–1966),
Indian Hunter and Pronghorn Antelope
plaster painted in bronze, Indian: 57½ high,127 cm; antelope: 62 high, 157.48 cm
Gift of the artist, 1956.391.1-2
An artist whose work bridged the traditional and the modern, Paul Manship was one of the outstanding American sculptors of the early part of the 20th century. He apprenticed under Solon Borglum and studied at both the Art Students League in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Receiving distinguished recognition for his emerging talent, Manship was awarded, at the age of twenty-four, the American Prix de Rome, and with it the opportunity to study for three years at the American Academy in Rome and to travel in Greece. There Manship found a lasting affinity for Archaic Greek art with its expressive directness and restrained, simplified naturalism. Like Aristide Maillol (1861–1944) and Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957), Manship used archaism as a link to the new, making elegant sculptures clearly divorced from the increasing conventionalism of other figurative sculpture of the period. With its characteristic polish and streamlined stylization, Manship's work is often associated with the development of Art Deco, a dominant style in 1920s American architecture and design.
Manship delighted in ways of translating or updating archaic themes, whether drawn from the arts of ancient Egypt, Greece, or India. The dramatic Indian Hunter and Pronghorn Antelope takes as its source the Greek myth of the labors of the heroic mortal Herakles, whom Manship romantically recast as a Native American wounding his western American quarry. Embodying the full flavor of his refined works, the sleek, silhouetted pair emphasizes the power and grace of flowing line. Manship originally designed Indian Hunter and Pronghorn Antelope in 1914 as two small bronze sculptures to unify the space across a mantelpiece in his home. An admiring collector commissioned the two in large-scale for his garden; the Joslyn sculptures are the plasters used to cast this later bronze.