Paris 1882 - New York City, New York, United States 1935
Elévation ou Femme debout
Elevation or Standing Woman
modeled 1912-1915, cast 1930
bronze, 6/12 (?)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 68 × 28 × 16 in.
Acc. No.: 78.9
Credit Line: Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Photo credit: Image courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- 1978, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
- Museum's website (accessed August 22, 2018)
- 1999 Curtis
[identical to] Penelope Curtis, Sculpture 1900-1945, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 229-232, color ill. p. 229, fig. 131
- 2003-2004 Budny
Virginia Budny, "Gaston Lachaise's American Venus: The Genesis and Evolution of Elevation", The American Art Journal, Vols. XXXIV & XXXV, 2003-2004, p. 128
- 2010 O'Leary, Yount, Rawles and Curry
Elizabeth L. O’Leary, Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry, American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010, fig. 197, p. 349
- Museum's website (accessed August 22, 2018):
This striking celebration of the female form-what one contemporary critic called a “priestess from another planet”-is considered Gaston Lachaise’s first major sculpture and one of his most enduring. Like all of his idealized modern goddesses, Elevation was inspired by the sculptor’s wife, model, and muse, Isabel Nagle. It reveals Lachaise’s training which French art nouveau master René Lalique (whose work can be seen in the museum’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Decorative Art Galleries), as well as his later apprenticeship with Paul Manship, the foremost representative of the Art Deco style in the United States (his sculpture is on view in an adjoining gallery).
Lachaise’s “Standing woman” is an embodiment of strength and monumentality as well as serenity and grace-all contained in a beautiful figural gesture that may have derived from famed modern dancer Ruth St. Denis. The sculptor further emphasized these qualities by placing the bronze on a 20-inch high base. Lachaise wanted the figure, already larger than life, to be “exalted, raised up, presented at a respectful distance, given a circle of solitude.”
First conceived by the artist in plaster about 1912 and altered over a period of years, VMFA’s version was cast under the artist’s supervision from the original mold in 1930 (just three years after the first casting by the renowned Roman Bronze Works). It is believed to be the sixth in an edition of twelve.