Paris 1911 - New York City, New York, United States 2010

Quarantania I

Quarantania I

1947-1953, cast 1981

bronze, dark patina, with painted steel base

free-standing abstract

Dimensions (HxWxD): 79 34 x 27 x 29 14 in.

Acc. No.: 85.215

Credit Line: The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. Museum purchase

Photo credit: MFA, Houston, 2013


  • 1985, Museum purchase


  • 1996 [Houston, Cullen]
    The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, 1996, p. 34-35, repr.


  • MFA Houston's website, accessed October 28, 2013:
    In the wake of World War I, many intellectuals rejected the ideal of progress that characterized the first waves of the Modernist avant garde. Seeking a means to comprehend a more complex reality, they embraced Sigmund Freud's methods of analysis and celebrated the unconscious as a source of creativity. The Parisian poet André Breton was at the forefront of this movement, and in 1924 he issued the first "Manifesto of Surrealism," advocating a new freedom in the arts. Over the following two decades Breton brought together an international alliance of artists and writers who shared his beliefs. Although the movement disbanded during World War II, Surrealist themes continued to flourish across the twentieth century.
    Early Surrealist sculptors used assemblage and found materials to create poetic objects; through unlikely juxtapositions they captured the sometimes illogical leaps of imagination and dreams. In later years, however, such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Alberto Giacometti, and Joan Miró began to sculpt figures and personages that powerfully evoke twin currents of mystery and reminiscence. Bourgeois's Quarantania I is a haunting assembly of abstract figures, summoning up the artist's early family experiences. Giacometti's Large Standing Woman I explores the limits of perception and memory, and Miró's monumental Bird captures the primal, almost feral nature of the creative spirit.