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Weight: 
42
Duration: 
02:06

The woodcarvings and other examples of folk art on these shelves were collected by the sculptor Elie Nadelman. Nadelman is well-known today as an avant-garde artist who created elegant and spare modernist sculpture. His accomplishment as one of the first serious collectors of folk art in America is equally important. Nadelman began collecting shortly after he emigrated to New York City in 1914. He and his wife, Viola Flannery Nadelman, quickly amassed thousands of treasures during their travels around the countryside and while on summer trips to Europe. In 1924, the couple began construction of a stone museum on the grounds of their Riverdale estate, which they called the Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts. It was the first museum in the United States devoted exclusively to folk art and the first in the world to focus on the European origins of American folk art. The Nadelmans were forced to sell the collection as a result of financial setbacks caused by the stock market collapse in 1929. In 1937, the New-York Historical Society purchased the bulk of Nadelman’s folk art, and today holds more than 1,600 objects from this seminal collection. The Nadelmans collected furniture, sculpture, paintings, ceramics, glass, iron, pewter, drawings, watercolors and household tools. Their objects are dispersed throughout the Luce Center. Here you see a selection of Nadelman’s carved wooden animals, some of them attributed to the Pennsylvania master carver Wilhelm Schimmel. Towards the top are molded plaster ornaments known as chalkware, inexpensive substitutes for real sculpture that were hawked on city streets by immigrant peddlers. If you look carefully throughout the Luce Center, you can find Nadelman’s collecting legacy in many areas, including decorated pottery; molded glass bottles; ornamental metalwork; painted furniture; and carved butter molds, just to name a few. On the bottom shelf to the left is an example of Nadelman’s own sculpture: a quartet of female figures showing women in the act of dressing and grooming.

The woodcarvings and other examples of folk art on these shelves were collected by the sculptor Elie Nadelman. Nadelman is well-known today as an avant-garde artist who created elegant and spare modernist sculpture.

Creative: Tronvig Group