Nadelman, Elie

Nadelman, Elie ā´lē näd´əlmən [key], 1882–1946, Polish-American sculptor, b. Warsaw. He spent some time in Paris and is said to have influenced Picasso. Before he settled (1914) in the United States his work was exhibited in New York City at the Armory Show in 1913. His gracefully rounded sculptures, most often in wood or metal, have a smooth, often witty simplicity and a suavely elegant charm that have sometimes been likened to sophisticated versions of folk art, which he avidly collected. Nadelman also worked in marble, cast plaster and papier-mâché, glazed ceramic, a form of electroplating, and other media. Probably his most famous bronze is Man in the Open Air (c.1915; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City), an urbane figure clad only in a small bow tie and bowler hat, in a jaunty pose slightly reminiscent of classical antiquity. Nadelman was comparatively unknown until interest in him was revived by a retrospective exhibition (1948) at the Museum of Modern Art. His reputation was again enhanced by another retrospective (2003) at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art.

See biography by L. Kirstein (1973).

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