Boris Lovet-Lorski

(1894-1973)

Boris Lovet-Lorski was born in Lithuania and studied painting, architecture and sculpture at the Imperial Academy of Art in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. At the conclusion of World War I he spent time in Berlin and Holland, and in 1920 he emigrated to the United States. Shortly after settling in Boston, the Grace Horn Gallery held an exhibition of his sculpture and drawings. After a brief period of living in New York City, Lovet-Lorski spent two years teaching at the Layton Art School in Milwaukee. In 1925 he became a United States citizen. A forceful protagonist of the Art Deco tradition, he established his reputation with solo exhibitions in the later half of the 1920s of figurative and portrait sculptures at the Reinhardt Galleries, Wildenstein Galleries, Jacques Seligmann Galleries and Grand Central Galleries in New York. In late 1925, Lovet-Lorski began to live most of the year in Paris, where in 1926 his works attracted considerable attention at the Paris Salon.

International success led Lovet-Lorski to maintain studios through at least 1932 in Paris and New York. He also resided in Rome for several months in 1929 where he executed portrait busts of the Italian royal family. The artist settled permanently in Beverly Hills, California in 1932. In 1950, the French government made him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. He was also a fellow of the National Sculpture Society. In addition to sculpture, Lovet-Lorski was active as a lithographer and painter. During his lifetime several illustrated books featuring his work were published, including Lithographs of Lovet-Lorski, Tribute to Women and Sculpture, Lovet-Lorski.

Lovet-Lorski's sculpture is represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, Dumbarton Oaks, San Diego Museum of Art, Luxembourg Museum, Petit Palais, Bibliotheque Nationale and the British Museum. The Metropolitan Museum owns his bronze head of the opera singer Feodor Chaliapin. Among his best-known works is his massive portrait head of John Foster Dulles in Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. Retrospective exhibitions of Lovet-Lorski's art were organized by the Syracuse University School of Art in 1967 and the Finch College Museum of Art in 1972.

Over the course of his career Lovet-Lorski produced sculpture in an amazing variety of materials, including marble, granite, slate, onyx, bronze, copper, pewter, wood, plaster, jade and even lava. The stylization and abstraction of "God Unknown" is in accord with the art deco aesthetic, and is imbued with a profound appreciation for clean lines. In his sculpted heads, Lovet-Lorski often emphasized simple and strongly geometric forms, the rhythmic play of curves, and the bold sweep of the figure’s hair.

Merle Armitage remarked of Lovet-Lorski that "Undoubtedly he visualizes in every slab or block of stone the form which has developed in his mind, and which to him abides within. . . And he finishes that conception with a surface which is the result of meticulous and exacting treatment, adapting subject to material with a cunning expertness . . . beneath these surfaces is a romantic enticement never fully concealed . . . which is entirely at one with the spirit of their creator." ("Sculpture of Boris Lovet-Lorski" [New York: E. Weyhe, 1937], pp. 13