The Italian artist Medardo Rosso (1858–1928) is a key ﬁgure in the development of modern sculpture. His portraits and ﬁgure studies have long been considered sculptural equivalents to Impressionism’s concern with light at the expense of form. This insightful book—the ﬁrst comprehensive study of Rosso’s art—presents an artist more deeply concerned with materials, process, and the reproduction of his works than previously imagined.
Rosso’s fascination with technique is explored in detail from art historical, technical, and phenomenological perspectives. Drawing on a wealth of new archival material and close-up study of the sculptures, the authors show that Rosso’s waxes—his best-known works—were not modeled by hand but cast with the help of gelatin molds. The authors compare wax, plaster, and bronze casts of the same subjects to show that the manipulation of materials for visual eﬀect was at the heart of his work. The book also reproduces and analyzes Rosso’s fascinating photographs of his own sculpture, which oﬀer important clues to the charged relationship he sought to create between viewers and the mysterious busts and ﬁgures he made.
This catalogue is published in conjunction with the exhibition Medardo Rosso: Second Impressions at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge (July 19–October 26, 2003); St. Louis Art Museum (November 21, 2003–February 29, 2004); and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (April 3–June 20, 2004).
Harry Cooper is curator of modern art at the Fogg Museum, Harvard University Art Museums; Sharon Hecker is an independent art historian who has published widely on Rosso’s work; Henry Lie is head of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard University Art Museums; Derek Pullen is head of sculpture conservation at the Tate in London.
Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional funding provided by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Dr. Sheldon G. and Irma Gilgore, the José Soriano Fund, Jessie Lee Farber in honor of James Cuno, and Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., in honor of Professor Sydney Freedberg Sr.