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 Robert Laurent  (1890 - 1970)

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Lived/Active: Maine/New York      Known for: mod figure sculpture, wood carver

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Laurent
from Auction House Records.
A Caen Stone Bust of A Woman
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A sculptor and frame maker, Robert Laurent came to New York City in 1901 from France and then returned to Paris in 1905 for further training.  There he was exposed to avant-garde art, and returning to New York in 1910, began carving frames for his artist friends including John LaFarge, Leon Kroll, Robert Henri, and Childe Hassam.  The Philadelphia collector, Albert Barnes, also commissioned many frames from him for the Barnes Collection.

During this time, Laurent began making wood sculptures, and was the only sculptor in New York carving directly into wood.  In the 1920s, he began working with alabaster. and also did work in aluminum and bronze.  For the first mezzanine of Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center, he did three nude female sculptures, each posing with a goose whose bill was uplifted looking into the raised palm of each figure.  The scene was intensified by a background of mirrors that made clear the back side of the women.  Although graceful and realistic in style and seemingly bucolic in theme with a woman having a quiet, tender moment enjoying the company of a goose, the figure group was highly controversial and considered naughty by some who perceived that the position of the goose bills made the birds too 'familiar' with the women. 

Robert Laurent was also a major collector of Folk Art, and had such an extensive collection that it became responsible for generating national interest in that subject.  From 1923 to 1942, he was a teacher at the Art Students League, and also from 1923, was a teacher and director of the Ogunquit School of Painting and Sculpture.

From 1942 to 1959, he taught at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Sources include:
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
Christine Roussel, The Guide to the Art of Rockefeller Center

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