Hear the Curator (y1969-72)

Art critic Gerald Nordland observed that as one looks at Floating Figure by Gaston Lachaise, “one has no sense of weight or mass, but only the qualities of serenity, strength, and exalted womanhood.” Lachaise was born in Paris to a cabinetmaker, trained at the Academie Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and worked for the Art Nouveau glass designer René Lalique before moving to America, where he became associated with the leading avant-garde artists of the day. Lachaise played an important role in the struggle to have modern sculpture recognized as a significant art form—as distinct from the war memorials and portraits for which sculpture was employed historically. The first bronze cast of Floating Figure was exhibited in 1935 at the Museum of Modern Art, where it remains. Seven subsequent foundation casts, including Princeton’s, the fourth, are located around the country and in Australia.