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Harriet Whitney Frishmuth "The Vine" Bronze Sculpture

This bronze sculpture by American Artist Harriet Whitney Frishmuth titled “The Vine” depicts a nude woman stretching upward and outward in imitation of a living vine. This lyrical nude balances on tiptoe in the ecstasy of performance, a grapevine suspended from one hand to the other as one might wear a scarf. The work’s first version, a statuette eleven and a quarter inches high, was enormously popular, cast in an edition of 396. In 1923, Frishmuth enlarged the sculpture to a monumental scale, using Desha Delteil of the Fokine Ballet as her model.

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Item #: YS-20979
Artist: Harriet Whitney Frishmuth
Country: United States
Circa: 1920s
Dimensions: 12" height, 7.5" width, 6" depth
Materials: Bronze
Signed: Harriet W. Frishmuth 1921©
Exhibition History: New York World's Fair, New York City Pavilion. April 8, 1964–October 28, 1965.
Literature: Albert Ten Eyck Gardner. Sculpture Survey, 1872–1925. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 10 (December 1951), p. 143. Albert TenEyck Gardner. American Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1965, pp. 140–41. Beatrice Gilman Proske. Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture. [Murrells Inlet, S. C.], 1968, p. 226. Charles N. Aronson. Sculptured Hyacinths. New York, 1973, pp. 44–46, 127, 208, ill. (overall and detail). Joan M. Marter in American Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Thayer Tolles. Vol. 2, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born between 1865 and 1885. New York and New Haven, 2001, pp. 642–43, no. 294, ill. (color).

In the early twentieth century, sculptures of dancing women were produced in great numbers, inspired in part by the popularity of Isadora Duncan, Loïe Fuller, and Anna Pavlova. Frishmuth often turned to dancers for her sculptural themes and employed them to pose for her with musical accompaniment. Dancer Desha Delteil was Frishmuth’s favorite model due to her ability to hold a challenging pose for hours.