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Maker(s):Man Ray
Culture:American (1890-1976)
Title:Herma
Date Made:1975
Type:Sculpture
Materials:Polished bronze
Place Made:North America; United States; New York; New York
Measurements:Overall: 14 1/4 in x 4 in x 2 5/8 in; 36.2 cm x 10.2 cm x 6.7 cm
Narrative Inscription:  Cast in the bronze on proper left leg, inside: Man Ray. Inscribed in the bronze on the proper right leg, inside: Artcurial / 33/350
Accession Number:  MH 2004.8
Credit Line:Gift of Anne W. Wells (Class of 1945)
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
mh_2004_8_v1_01.jpg

Description:
Abstract biomorphic rendition of female figure; Edition of 33/350; fabricated by Artcurial, Paris

Label Text:
Here we see an ambiguous figure that appeared in many works by Man Ray throughout his career. Its title evokes the classical Greek myth of Hermaphroditus, the son of gods Hermes and Aphrodite. One day, the nymph Salmacis fell in love with this handsome youth and asked the gods to unite them forever. Her request was granted, but not in the way she had expected. Their bodies were merged, creating one deity with both male and female genitalia. Herma’s reflective surface catches the eye and invites us to walk around it, giving us distorted and fragmented images of our faces that never unify into a coherent likeness. This is one of a series of bronzes cast by the Paris auction house Artcurial one year before the artist’s death.

Zoë Burnett, University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA ’17, Department of the History of Art & Architecture)
A Very Long Engagement: Nineteenth-Century Sculpture and Its Afterlives (July 29, 2017 - May 27, 2018)

Tags:
sculpture; bodies

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=MH+2004.8

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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