• La Petite Maternité - Henri Laurens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • La Petite Maternité - Henri Laurens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • La Petite Maternité - Henri Laurens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • La Petite Maternité - Henri Laurens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • La Petite Maternité - Henri Laurens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • La Petite Maternité - Henri Laurens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • La Petite Maternité - Henri Laurens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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La Petite Maternité

Henri Laurens

(French, 1885-1954)

Signed HL
Terracotta
Height: 7" (18 cm)

Conceived and executed in 1932
Unique hand finished model before the edition of 8

Born in Paris, Henri Laurens worked as a stonemason and interior designer before turning his hand to sculpture. His first works were executed in the style of Auguste Rodin, however a chance meeting with Georges Braque in 1911 led the young sculptor to shift towards Cubism. Braque would remain one of Laurens’ closest friends throughout his life, encouraging him to work in a range of media, including sculpture, polychrome bas-relief and collage.

In 1915 Pablo Picasso, who was also a great admirer of Laurens, visited the sculptor’s studio, bringing with him the collector Léonce Rosenberg. Rosenberg bought a number of works, and supported Laurens through the war years. By 1938 Laurens had cemented his relationship with the Cubist pioneers, sharing a number of major exhibitions with Picasso and Braque.

Conceived in 1932, and executed in an edition of 8, La Petite Maternité is reflective of Laurens’ move away from the strict angular and geometric forms of Cubism, to a smoother more elegant approach to modeling. This stylistic trait is evident in a number of the artist’s drawings and can be seen as a precursor to the work of Henry Moore. Laurens also created a large version of the work in bronze titled La Grande Maternité, currently in the collection of Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

Laurens would continually return to the female figure, however the present work is his only sculpture depicting a recumbent pregnant woman. This particular model was exhibited at the Venice, XXIéme Biennale Internationale des Beaux-Arts, 1938, no. 355.

Laurens represented France at the Venice Biennale in 1948, and his inclusion in the exhibition ‘Seven Pioneers of Modern Sculpture’, Yverdon, Switzerland, 1954, is a testament to his status as one of the great sculptors of 20th century.

Exhibition sticker from Venice XXIéme Biennale Internationale des Beaux-Arts, 1938, (underside of base)

Works by Henri Laurens

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