These days, admirers of Elie Nadelman’s elegant, exquisite sculpture have little opportunity to view his work, barely half a dozen pieces being visible in New York. Of those, one, a relief above the Fuller Building on East Fifty-seventh Street, is hard to see, and two others, in the lobby of the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, are vapid, gargantuan enlargements of lesser works. Only at the Museum of Modern Art can one see Nadelman properly. There he is represented by two of his most accomplished pieces, Man in the Open Air and Woman at the Piano, both from the Teens. Other than these, Nadelman’s work is today all but forgotten. It is a sad slide into obscurity for an artist who was once at the center of the vanguard milieu on both sides of the Atlantic—but it may have been inevitable. Our view of the world has changed too much to accommodate the stylized, mannered figures and...


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