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WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY SCULPTURE TOUR

Innocence

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InnocenceArtist - William Zorach
Born - 1887
Died - 1966
Origin - America/Lithuania
Year Built - 1928

About the Artist:  William Zorach and his family immigrated to Port Clinton, Ohio, in 1891. Zorach dropped out of school in the eighth grade and found work as an apprentice for the Morgan Lithograph Company in Cleveland. Working during the day, Zorach took evening classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1902-05, and then studied painting at the National Academy of Design in New York in 1908. He studied for another two years before leaving for Paris, where he met his future wife, painter Marguerite Thompson (1887-1968). The two married in 1912. William, like Marguerite, exhibited with other aspiring modernists at the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1910 and the Armory Show in New York in 1913. He taught at the Art Students League between 1929-66.

In 1917, Zorach began to carve wooden sculptures, and by 1922 he abandoned painting for sculpture. His work departed from the nineteenth century technique of creating plaster models for translation to marble or bronze; rather, he worked the surface of the wood or stone directly, allowing the natural qualities of the material to influence the end result. Many of Zorach's bronzes began as wood or stone pieces which he later transferred to plaster. Innocence, 1928, is the second of eight castings from a plaster entitled Figure of a Girl (Dahlov): Innocence in the National Museum of American Art. A wood version, carved the same year as the casting of the bronze, exists as well. Innocence depicts Zorach's daughter Dahlov in early adolescence, her features elongated in a manner similar to African Senufo sculpture. Like Innocence, the plaster model of Kneeling Figure, c. 1950, is in the National Museum of American Art. The second of six castings, the sculpture most likely dates earlier than the year normally assigned to the work (1955). Tessim Zorach, the artist's son, noted that the sculpture was modeled over a span of one to two years.