Famed 1920s sculpture floats to LIC waterfront
by Sara Krevoy
Oct 01, 2020 | 2207 views | 0 0 comments | 204 204 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A well-known work by acclaimed French sculptor Gaston Lachaise has found a temporary new home in Hunters Point South Park.

Thanks to a collaboration between the Lachaise Foundation, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, NYC Parks Arts & Antiquities Division and Community Board 2, “Floating Woman” is slated to remain on display in the World’s Borough for one year.

“I am thrilled to have this work here,” said Lachaise Foundation director Paula Hornbostel during the official unveiling last Thursday.

“COVID has forced us all to find respite in beautiful places that are safe, and what NYC Parks has done here at Hunters Point South Park, with it’s meandering pathways,” she continued, “it’s an oasis for people seeking solace.”

As Lachaise was a fan of the art of dance, the big reveal also included a performance from members of the Queensboro Dance Festival.

“Floating Woman” dates back to the 1920s, and is one of Lachaise’s most celebrated works. The piece depicts a buoyant, expansive figure representing a “timeless earth goddess.” It is inspired by the artist’s wife Isabel, whom he worshiped.

Hornbostel explained that when Lachaise first came to America from Paris, he was impressed by the country’s “franchised” women.

With many of his works, Lachaise paid homage to the female form utilizing vitality, sensuality and exaggerated physical features. He considered “Floating Woman” to honor the power of the female gender.

The sculpture was cast in bronze at the Modern Art Foundry in Astoria (Lachaise spent most of his life in New York City in Boston), making its current placement a kind of homecoming.

There are a total of nine casts of “Floating Woman” in existence. Others are on view at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Society Hill Towers in Philadelphia, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Nebraska, Princeton University in New Jersey, National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris.

Now, the iconic figure will recline along the Long Island City waterfront as well, aligned with 51st Avenue on the west side of the park’s old railroad tracks.

“May this work empower women everywhere with its depiction of spiritual beauty,” said Hornbostel
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