Medardo Rosso

11 September - 1 November 2008

New York



PRESS RELEASE

Medardo Rosso (11 September - 1 November 2008)

A major discovery of a lost masterpiece by Italian artist Medardo Rosso (1858-1928) is the focus of this significant exhibition of four rare wax sculptures at Peter Freeman, Inc. It is the first Rosso exhibition in New York in over a decade.

Medardo Rosso is a key figure in the development of modern sculpture, and his portraits and figural studies have long been considered the sculptural equivalent of Impressionism's concern with light at the expense of form.

While each sculpture in the exhibition is exemplary in terms of quality, one, Enfant Malade [Sick Child], a bust dating from c. 1895, is particularly significant. Exhibited publicly for the first time, and never before published, Enfant Malade was acquired directly from Rosso (probably as a gift) by the influential French critic Louis Vauxcelles (1870-1943), both a champion of Rosso, and the person credited with coining the terms "Fauvism" (1905) and "Cubism" (1908).

What is remarkable about the Vauxcelles Enfant Malade is that it is one of the very few Rosso works to retain Rosso's original glass vitrine, supported by the original base. Having remained in the Vauxcelles family since its acquisition and never before having left Paris, this is one of the few works in its original state. Sharon Hecker, the foremost scholar on Medardo Rosso, identified this as a singular situation because it provides viewers the opportunity to experience the manner in which the artist intended to display his work, a detail unfortunately lost in traditional exhibition display.

Hecker will author a publication in collaboration with Peter Freeman, Inc. In addition, The Burlington Magazine will dedicate an article to Medardo Rosso and Enfant Malade in 2009.

"Medardo Rosso" at Peter Freeman Inc. will provide an intimate viewing of works by the Italian sculptor whose influence on the medium is just now being fully evaluated. As Gloria Moure wrote in Medardo Rosso (Centro Galego, Spain, 1996): "We know today that his sway was crucial over Picasso, Matisse, Boccioni, Lipchitz and Brancusi, among others. For this reason I would not hesitate here to describe his generous contribution as the primordial turning point in contemporary sculpture."