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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.
65 1/2 x 62 x 26 in. (166.4 x 157.5 x 66 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Adolph Lewisohn
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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)
overall, 26.157_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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