DescriptionViktor Schreckengost (American, 1906-2008)
Woman's Head, Study for Niobe
Soft pastel on tracing paper, circa 1937
23-3/4 x 18-3/4 inches (60.3 x 47.6 cm)
This drawing, probably made from life, is an early preparatory sketch of an idea which eventually became a 16-inch-high sculptural ceramic head, Niobe, that Viktor produced in 1937 (private collection). With its white glaze on a columnar vessel form modified through poking out eye holes and pinching forward nose and lips, it was created in the Viennese tradition he had mastered under Michael Powolny at the Kunstgewerbeschule in 1929-30. Niobe was the immediate precursor to the artist's most ambitious ceramic heads of the 1930s: The Seasons of 1938 (in the present auction), and The Elements of 1939 (Collection of the Cleveland Institute of Art, Gift of Virgene Schreckengost)--the latter representing Viktor in the 1939 World's Fair. The model for this drawing and its counterpart in clay seems to have been Viktor's first wife, Nadine Averill, who was photographed for the newspapers beside the work. Her likeness is also recorded in the oil painting, Morning Light (1934), in the present auction.
Drawing is toned overall with scattered smudges and undulations. Annotates "sn 2371" with website information in graphite to verso.
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