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Modern Madonna

Artist
John Storrs, American, 1885–1956
Date
c.1918–19
Material
Terracotta with traces of paint
Place made
France, Europe
Classification
Ceramics
Current Location
On View, Gallery 339
Dimensions
23 7/16 x 7 3/4 x 5 1/8 in. (59.5 x 19.7 x 13 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Shop Fund
Rights
© Estate of John Storrs
Object Number
86:1985
NOTES
In this sculpture John Storrs treats the traditional subject of the Madonna and child. Having spent much of his career in France, Storrs reworked his design for a medal honoring French widows and orphans of World War I into this freestanding sculpture, which was likely inspired by the birth of his only child in 1918. Influenced by Cubism, Storrs abstracted this familiar subject into a series of fragmented geometric planes, most evident in the chiseled fall of the Madonna's robes and in the angular presentation of the figures. The solidity and strength of form, in addition to its tapering verticality, give the figure an architectonic quality. Its reference to skyscrapers is not surprising for Storrs. Not only did the artist grow up in Chicago under the influence of the city's towering skyline, but he also designed the 31 foot tall sculpture of Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain, which sits atop the Chicago Board of Trade Building.
John Storrs (1885-1956)

- 1985
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, Ltd., New York, NY, acquired from the estate of John Storrs [1]

1985 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, Ltd. [2]


Notes:
[1] According to a letter from Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, Ltd., dated August 19, 1985, this sculpture was acquired from the estate of the artist [SLAM document files].

[2] Invoice from Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, Ltd. dated September 11, 1985 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, September 12, 1985.
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