Maternité à la Draperie (Motherhood with Drapery)
(Spanish, 1881 - 1934)
Signed P. Gargallo
Bronze with brown and light brown patina
Length: 8 1/5'' (17.4 cm)
Conceived 1927 and cast within the artist's lifetime
Edition 2 of 7 plus 6 artist's proofs
Sold with a certificate of authenticity from Madame Pierrette Gargallo
Pablo Gargallo (1881 – 1934) was a Spanish, avant-garde artist known for his figurative Cubist sculptures. Born in Maella, Gargallo soon moved with his family to Barcelona, where he started his artistic training. Around 1897, he began his formal studies at the Fine Arts Academy of Barcelona, frequenting Els Quatre Gats café, making friends with Pablo Picasso, Manolo Hugué and Ricardo Canals, among others.
In 1906, Gargallo held his first solo exhibition at the Sala Parés in Barcelona. In the following year, he stayed with Picasso in Paris for a night, witnessing the creation of his ground breaking Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It is not surprising this work was influential on the development of Gargallo’s artistic style. It was also the same year that he began working on three-dimensional masks using copper sheets.
Gargallo became a professor at The Technical School of Artistic Crafts of Catalonia in 1921 and in the succeeding year, a professor in sculpture at the Superior School of Fine Arts. In 1927, he won a contract from the Barcelona Town Council to produce three sculptures for Plaça de Catalunya, the city’s main square; of these three, El pastor de la Flauta (The Shepherd with the Flute), and El Pastor del Aguila (The Eagle Shepherd) still stand in the plaza today.
P. Gargallo, Pastor de la Flauta, 1927, granite, Plaza de Catalunya (Barcelona)
Gargallo died in Reus, Spain in 1934. His works form part of important museum collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), the Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid), and are in the Pablo Gargallo Museums in Zaragoza, Spain, and Maella.
The present work is a rare, lifetime cast of Gargallo’s model Maternité à la Draperie (Motherhood with Drapery). The artist depicts the tender embrace between a mother and her child; the female figure supports the baby with her right arm, pulling a cloth held in her left hand over the child’s head.
Gargallo developed the intimacy of the scene through three major compositional choices. First, the figures are depicted in the nude. Second, the artist elongated the mother’s neck, so as to highlight the proximity between her face and that of the child. Finally, Gargallo framed the mother in the act of pulling the cloth over her child’s body, signifying that this is the very last moment to glimpse the embracing pair, before they are hidden by the drapery.
Such compositional devices, as well as the style of the work, are somewhat reminiscent of Auguste Rodin’s attitudes towards modelling, which Gargallo knew first hand from his travels to Paris in the early 20th century. The result is a powerful, almost allegorical, image of motherhood.