#InTheLoop | Famous Sculpture to Spend a Year in Queens
BY QEDC It's In Queens
UPDATE ON 9/9/21: The Lachaise Foundation will bid farewell with Tour Then Pour on Monday, Sept. 13, at 6 pm. All are invited. Now please read on.
A voluptuous naked female will recline near the Long Island City waterfront for a year, starting on Sept. 24. Her arms will be outstretched, hands open as if praying. Her legs will be crossed, like a mermaid’s tail.
Gaston Lachaise’s “Floating Woman” will be on display in Hunter’s Point South Park on the west side of the old railroad tracks, aligned with 51st Avenue.
Born in 1882, Lachaise was the “greatest American sculptor of his time,” according to ARTnews. (Though French, he lived most of his life in Boston and NYC.)
“Floating Woman” is one of his best-known monumental works from the 1920s. The buoyant, expansive figure represents a timeless earth goddess, and although she looks a bit awkward, she conveys a sense of joy and feminine fecundity. Plus, his wife, Isabel, was his muse, and he considered it a tribute to the power of women.
The installation is also a bit of a homecoming as “Floating Woman” was cast in bronze at the Modern Art Foundry in Astoria.
Lachaise, who studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, celebrated the female form with vitality, sensuality, and exaggerated physical features for his entire career. In the 1920s, he started “floating” his figures by freeing them from bases. His other famous works include “Standing Woman” and “Woman (Elevation).” He also did commissioned pieces for prominent members of the literary and art worlds, such as Georgia O’Keeffe and E.E. Cummings.
“Floating Woman” comes to Queens thanks to the Lachaise Foundation, which partnered with the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, NYC Parks Arts & Antiquities Division, and Community Board 2.
Images: Lachaise Foundation