|Childs Gallery is pleased to present the first major retrospective of modernist sculptor Dudley Vaill Talcott (1899-1986), a multi-talented artist known for his industrial design style, monumental works, and exploration of non-traditional materials.|
In 1930, five sculptures by Connecticut native Dudley Vaill Talcott were included in the “Living Americans” group show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Despite the heady company, including Arthur Dove, Charles Sheeler, Stuart Davis and Marsden Hartley, Talcott’s works stood out.
There was The Wrestler (1929), a seven-foot-tall aluminum robot-man right out of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. (When exhibited at the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games in 1932, the Machine Age colossus gained quite a bit of notoriety.) No less modern was the sharply angled Six Day Cyclist (1926). Though firmly anchored in metal blocks, the forward racing bronze figure echoed the futurists’ kinetic sense of perpetual movement. Talcott also displayed his whimsical side in the geometrically abstracted Child’s Restaurant Waitress (1928), playfully mythologizing a well-known uniformed server of the time. Made of carved wood, the aproned statue was an irresistible cubist tour de force. (Versions of the last two pieces are now on display at Childs Gallery.)
The New Yorker art critic Murdock Pemberton had this to say about the three-dimensional works in the 1930 MOMA show:
"The sculpture exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art is alive; which is about the first time an exhibit of sculpture in America has been alive. There is Gaston Lachaise, a holdover from the period when only the classic was thinkable, and yet possessed of some divine fire. Then there is Calder, a humorist in a medium that is too often soggy with selfconscious dignity. Last, and perhaps most important, is Dudley Talcott, a worker in all sorts of mediums who is aware that he lives in an age of skyscrapers and reality that can be beautiful even if material and mechanistic. We think Talcott alone among the Americans has invaded a field that has remained static and brought it to a consciousness of what is afoot in our world. It is really a thrilling show."