True to Form: Works by 20th and 21st-Century Sculptors
Cavalier Gallery Chelsea presents its first annual sculpture exhibition with select works by contemporary artists and modern masters
June 8, 2023, New York, NY—Cavalier Galleries is delighted to announce True to Form, a new exhibition celebrating the work of 18 sculptors: Harry Bertoia, Doris Caesar, Jane DeDecker, Mark di Suvero, Peter Kirkiles, Gaston Lachaise, Bruno Lucchesi, Reuben Nakian, Tom Otterness, Roxy Paine, Joel Perlman, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Peter Reginato, Jim Rennert, Leo Sewell, Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, Federico Uribe, and Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Spanning nearly 100 years in their creation, the sculptures on view traverse a wide stylistic spectrum, from Bruno Lucchesi’s lifesize After Shopping—in the grand tradition of Italian Renaissance sculptors—to Doris Caesar’s expressionist nudes to the freeform geometries of Hans Van de Bovenkamp. The exhibition consists of more than twenty sculptures ranging in scale from miniature to monumental. These are complemented by bas reliefs, plaques, drawings, and other works on paper by artists best known for their explorations of three dimensions.
Figurative works by Lucchesi, Caesar, and Gaston Lachaise, among others, are sculpted in clay and cast in bronze. Other sculptures on view are fabricated in metal, including an 11-foot-tall sculpture screen (1959) by Harry Bertoia Harry Bertoia, or created through mixed media assemblage, as with Leo Sewell's Gold Boxer (2020). The most unusual media in the exhibition belongs to sculptor Federico Uribe, whose Baby Panda Dancing is crafted from bullet shells, creating a highly-tactile undulating surface that can be both beguiling and unsettling.
New Yorkers may recognize the work of contemporary artists Jim Rennert and Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, who have each installed public art around Manhattan in recent years. Rennert’s It Happens (2017)—a suited man looking with dismay at the bottom of his shoe—brings his signature humor to the exhibition. Known for his bronze sculptures of businesspeople engaged in the trials and triumphs of the working world, Rennert’s larger-than-life creations can also be seen at 1700 Broadway and along the Avenue of the Americas.
Skaarup is best known for his now-iconic 15-foot-tall Hippo Ballerina, who has danced around Manhattan since 2017, debuting at Lincoln Center and gracing the Flatiron District before spending most of 2022 in Pershing Square Plaza. True to Form features much more diminutive variations of the 2.5-ton ballerina, including Skaarup’s Hippo Tightrope Walker, a 4-foot-tall bronze with a golden-colored leotard and a white fabric tutu. Hippo Ballerina is dually inspired by Edgar Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1878–1881) and Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940). Skaarup’s fanciful sculptures are also on view at One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Midtown East.
Reuben Nakian (1897–1986) is represented in the exhibition by his monumental work Herodias (1952), named for the wife of first-century Roman ruler Herod Antipas, who is believed to have orchestrated the death of John the Baptist. A bronze plaque carved with an image of a Nymph and Goat (c. 1970) and an ink drawing of Europa and the Bull (c. 1965) illustrate the painterly eroticism rooted in Greek and Roman mythology that came to define Nakian’s oeuvre.
Connecticut-based sculptor Peter Kirkiles takes his inspiration from quotidian objects and has a special affection for antique tools such as folding rulers. A master craftsman, he pays homage to the objects’ original makers by recreating them to scale as sculpture, prompting a greater awareness of formal beauty in the material culture that comprises our personal worlds.
Jane DeDecker is a nationally recognized artist based in Loveland, Colorado, who has established herself as a premier sculptor of the human experience. DeDecker’s work centers on family relationships and personal exploration, taking shape as impressionistic sculptures of significant emotional power. The artist is currently working on a women’s suffrage monument to be installed in Washington, D.C. and is represented in True to Form by a sculpture from the yoga series that she began in the mid-2000s.
True to Form is the first annual sculpture exhibition at Cavalier Gallery in Chelsea, yet it builds on the Cavalier family’s legacy of serving the art world for over half a century. Ronald Joseph Cavalier, Sr. (1933–2020) pioneered the ceramic shell technique for casting bronze sculpture in the early 1960s. In his six decades as a foundryman, Cavalier, Sr. cast and restored sculptures for collectors, corporations, artists, and museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Museum of Modern Art.
In 1986, Ronald J. Cavalier, Jr. founded Cavalier Galleries with a showroom and sculpture garden in Stamford, Connecticut. Notable exhibitions during the gallery's early years included The Borglums of Fairfield County, a retrospective of the art of Gutzon and Solon Borglum, and the first American exhibition of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. In 1993, Mr. Cavalier developed the acclaimed Stamford Sculpture Walk; the Walk’s 1999 exhibition, Important Sculptors of the Late Twentieth Century, featured major works by artists such as Henry Moore, Fernando Botero, David Smith, Claes Oldenburg, George Segal, and Louise Nevelson. Today, sculpture continues to be an essential part of the gallery’s identity and Cavalier Galleries maintains displays of outdoor sculpture at its locations in Greenwich, Connecticut and Nantucket, Massachusetts.
True to Form is on view at Cavalier Gallery, 530 W 24th Street, New York, NY from June 8 through July 8, 2023. For more information, please visit cavaliergalleries.com.
On View: June 8–July 8, 2023
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment.
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