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The Awakening

Maurice Sterne

American Art

In the wake of World War I, many artists in the United States and Europe abandoned modernist experiments with fractured human form to celebrate the idealized human body in ways that signaled postwar recovery and liberation. Maurice Sterne, who had experimented with modernism after encountering the work of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse in Paris from 1904 to 1907, also took a more idealized direction in The Awakening.

The figure, based in part on the nudes of Michelangelo, shows sleek, modern proportions that blend classical art and a then-fashionable slim and athletic modern body type. This type of physique is a hallmark of the twenties style, as is the figure’s “strange combination of the masculine, feminine, and child,” as Sterne himself described it.
DATES ca. 1926
DIMENSIONS 65 1/2 x 62 x 26 in. (166.4 x 157.5 x 66 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Adolph Lewisohn
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Maurice Sterne (American, born Latvia, 1877–1957). The Awakening, ca. 1926. Bronze, 65 1/2 x 62 x 26 in. (166.4 x 157.5 x 66 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Adolph Lewisohn, 26.157 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 26.157_acetate_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 26.157_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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