Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Firebird

Artist:
Theodore Roszak (American (born Poland), Poznan 1907–1981 New York)
Date:
1950–51
Medium:
Iron brazed with bronze and brass
Dimensions:
H.31 x W.41 x D.27 in. (78.7 x 104.1 x 68.6 cm) 173.5 lb (78.7 kg)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, in memory of the artist, 1982
Accession Number:
1982.16.1
Not on view
The sculptures Roszak made after World War II represent a fusion of his previous geometric constructivism and a much freer expressionism. Firebird is one of the most successful works rendered in this new style. Of the concept behind the sculpture, Roszak told an interviewer: "It is Chinese . . . a Chinese allusion. I came upon it in Stravinsky, the wonderful piece of music he had written around it. He has these slow smoldering chords that accelerate and then whip up into a terrific frenzy of sound. . . . [The firebird] embodied a kind of ritualistic experience that found its habitat in practically any part of the world that has lived long enough to go through a smoldering and phoenixlike emergence out of complete desolation, affirming its life all over again."
Inscription: Signed (top): T.J. Roszak
[Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, until 1951; sold on October 20, 1951 to Steinberg]; Muriel Kallis Steinberg, Chicago (1951–82; her gift to MMA)

Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. "12 Peintres et sculpteurs américains contemporains," April–June 1953, no. 67.

Art Institute of Chicago. "62nd American Exhibition: Paintings and Sculpture," January 17-March 3, 1957, no. 107.

Brussels. Palais international des beaux-arts. "50 ans d'art moderne: Exposition universelle et internationale," April 17–July 21, 1958, extended to October 19, 1958, no. 277.

Washington D.C. Phillips Collection. "Birds in Contemporary Art," February 12–March 31, 1966, no. 31.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "An American Choice: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection," May 21–September 27, 1981, unnumbered cat. (p. 73).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sculpture: New Acquisitions," April 6–September 5, 1982, no catalogue.

Mountainville, N. Y. Storm King Art Center. "20th Century Sculpture: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 18–October 31, 1984, unnum. brochure.

Bronx. Herbert H. Lehman College Art Gallery of The City University of New York. "Relationships: Paintings, Sculpture, and Drawings from the Twentieth Century Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 16, 1984–January 6, 1985, no. 31.

Bronxville, N. Y. Sarah Lawrence College Gallery. "Sculptural Expressions: Seven Artists in Metal and Drawing, 1947–1960," October 8-November 17, 1985, unnumbered cat. (p. 56).

Coral Gables. Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami. "Abstract Sculpture in America, 1930–70," February 7–March 31, 1991, no. 12.

Macon, Ga. Museum of Arts and Sciences. "Abstract Sculpture in America, 1930–70," April 19-June 30, 1991, no. 12.

Ohio. Akron Art Museum. "Abstract Sculpture in America, 1930–70," August 24–October 20, 1991, no. 12.

Indiana. Fort Wayne Museum of Art. "Abstract Sculpture in America, 1930–70," November 9, 1991–January 4, 1992, no. 12.

Quebec City. Musée du Québec. "Abstract Sculpture in America, 1930–70," January 25-March 21, 1992, no. 12.

Chicago. Terra Museum of American Art. "Abstract Sculpture in America, 1930–70," April 11–June 7, 1992, no. 12.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 17, 2007–February 3, 2008, extended to March 2, 2008, no. 29.

Carola Giedion-Welcker. Contemporary Sculpture: An Evolution in Volume and Space. New York, 1955, p. xxvii, ill. p. 216.

Alison de Lima Greene. The Artist's Perception, 1948/1984: 1948, Between Art and Political Action; 1984, Progress and Access. Exh. cat., Vassar College Art Gallery. Poughkeepsie, N. Y., 1984, no. 17.

Lisa Mintz Messinger. Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art, Atlanta. New York, 1992, pp. 109–10.

William M. Griswold and Jennifer Tonkovich. Pierre Matisse and His Artists. Exh. cat., Pierpont Morgan Library. New York, 2002, pp. 224–25.

Douglas Dreishpoon in Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Gary Tinterow, Lisa Mintz Messinger, and Nan Rosenthal. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2007, pp. 86–89, no. 29, ill. (color).



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