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Sold at Auction: Paul Manship

Alias:Paul Manship


(b St. Paul, Minnesota 1885; d St. Paul 1966) American artist. In the late 1920s the architect Eric Gugler brought a five-foot glass sphere etched with constellations back to America from his travels in Germany. His friend Paul Manship, inspired by this sphere, was captivated by the idea of creating his own celestial globe and he endeavored, through scrupulous research, to gain a sufficient understanding of astronomy to create a correct rendering of the positions of constellations with scientific accuracy. As was his way, Manship sought out authorities in the field. He struck up close friendships with the astronomers Clyde Fisher of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Harlow Shapley of Harvard University. He studied astronomy, made frequent visits to New York's Hayden Planetarium, and went stargazing. But his interest was an artist's, not a scientist's; what fascinated him was the mythology of the heavens. In 1909, Manship won a fellowship to study in Rome where he studied ancient sculpture. He found himself particularly inspired by the archaic Greek figures, admiring the rigorous aesthetic of these classical statues. He borrowed elements from these Greek prototypes, synthesizing classical sculptural traditions with his distinctly stylized modern forms to create his own unique aesthetic. Examples of his work are in the collections of the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the St. Louis Art Museum in Missouri. (Credit: Sotheby’s, New York, American Paintings, November 29, 2006, Lot 22)
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