Artwork Detail

Le cheval (The Horse)
1914, cast 1954–56
French, 1876–1918
16 1/2 x 13 5/8 x 12 1/2 "
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard K. Weil, 1977
WU 4569
In this work the early Cubist sculptor Raymond Duchamp Villon abstracted the physiognomy of a horse, breaking it down into smooth masses and volumes resembling mechanical components such as gears, struts, and cogs. In this way Duchamp Villon equated the dynamic energy and speed of the horse with that of the machine, the force behind the industrialization of Europe. In Cubist sculpture the fusing and merging of distinct elements in motion, such as the legs of a running horse, reflects an interest in simultaneity, representing several moments in time within a single artwork. Duchamp Villon conceived of the idea for this sculpture before the outbreak of World War I in 1914. After serving as a medical officer in a cavalry regiment, he returned to his studio during a period of leave to complete the plaster cast for Le cheval. Metal versions of the sculpture were cast after his death in 1918. [Permanent collection label, 2019]