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Image of Head of a Virgin

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Head of a Virgin

William Zorach (AKA Zorach Samovich; Zorach Finklestein; William Finklestein), American (born Lithuania), (February 28, 1889–November 15, 1966)

Creation date: 1942
Creation place: United States

Other Information

Type: Granite Sculpture
Medium and Support: Granite
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds from the Helen M. Towle Bequest
Accession Number: 1946.63
State/Province: Maine
Dimensions: 12 3/4 in. x 9 in. x 4 in. (32.39 cm x 22.86 cm x 10.16 cm)


William Zorach, Bath, Maine (1942 - 1944)

The Downtown Gallery, Inc., New York, New York (1944 - October 4, 1946)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (October 4, 1946 - )

Label Copy

Sculpture, Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, 1977.
Themes of tenderness - animal in repose, mothers with children carved from natural boulders with some of the natural rough texture remaining are Zorach's favorite expressions. Strength and vitality come from the inherent qualities of the material, natural subject matter in traditional poses and simplification of form.

March 2003
American Installation
D. Scott Atkinson
As a youth William Zorach emigrated with his parents from Lithuania to Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of twenty, he began attending the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in New York. Zorach then studied in Paris, where he met his future wife, the Californian Marguerite Thompson, who introduced him to Fauvism and Cubism. He explored these styles in painting until 1922, when he dedicated himself to sculpture.

Zorach abandoned the angularity of Cubism for smooth, round, volumetric forms based on the sculpture of ancient cultures. Although he produced sculpture in a wide range of media, including metals and hardwoods, he preferred working in stone.

Head of a Virgin, carved from a block of black granite, is part of a series of heads Zorach began producing in the early 1940s and continued to make over two decades. The simplified features of this sculpture are composed of a series of round geometric shapes. Head of a Virgin belongs compositionally to the figurative modernist tradition and owes more to a stylized simplification of form than to abstraction.
Last Updated: 8/8/2013


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Perception: An Exhibition of Sculpture for the Sighted and Blind California Arts Commission , 3/19/1971 - 4/4/1972

Sculpture, Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego , 1/1/1977 - 4/1/1977


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Mr. Reginald Poland. A Catalogue of European Paintings, 1300-1870 San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1947
Page Number: 11

The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego Catalogue: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1960
Page Number: 19, Figure Number: 19

Perception: California Arts Commission. Sacramento, California, 1971
Page Number: 56, 57, Figure Number: 56

Mr. D. Scott Atkinson. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 199, Figure Number: 199


Signature, On reverse:

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