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Collections Browse Goddess with the Golden Thighs

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Image
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Rights
Copyright retained by the artist

Copyright

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Title
Goddess with the Golden Thighs
Artist
Reuben Nakian
Date
1964-1965/1987
Dimensions
overall 84 × 150 × 42 inches
Materials
bronze
Location
On view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Object Details

Type
Sculpture
Accession Number
1987.62
Edition
¾
Inscriptions
on reverse R place “Nakian SC 1965 ¾ 1987 ©”; on reverse R place “Nakian SC 1965 ¾ 1987 ©”
Credit Line
Gift of Dolly J. Fiterman, 1987

artwork entry Reuben Nakian, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1998

This unnamed, archetypal goddess, with her massive, splayed thighs supported on a primitive altar of rough-hewn pillars, is a potent symbol of fertility. According to the artist, she represents “the birth of the universe.” Like a number of American sculptors practicing in New York during the 1940s and 1950s, Nakian worked in a style that paralleled the development of Abstract Expressionist painting. The roughly worked, patinated surfaces of his sculptures and their fragmented, abstract forms mirror the aggressive shapes and textures that the New York School painters achieved in their canvases. Nakian forged a uniquely personal style in his sculpture, inspired by Greek and Roman art and classical mythology.

Jenkins, Janet, ed. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 1998, no. 18.

© 1998 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource Reuben Nakian, Goddess with the Golden Thighs (1964-1965/1987) Walker Art Center, 1998

Like a number of American sculptors working in New York during the early 1940s and 1950s, Reuben Nakian’s work paralleled the development of Abstract Expressionist painting. The roughly worked, patinated surface of Goddess with the Golden Thighs reflects the artist’s close association with contemporary painters who achieved aggressive forms and texture with paint. For this sculpture and many of his other works, Nakian combines a fascination with the drama of classical myths and the expressive techniques of modern painting. Although the “goddess” in the sculpture has no specific identity, she is a powerful representation of the female figure. According to the artist, she represents “the birth of the universe.”

Text for Reuben Nakian, Goddess with the Golden Thighs (1964-1965/1987), from the curriculum guide The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: A Garden for All Seasons, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center