Moon Sprite

Moon Sprite, 1914
Moon Sprite, 1914

A Sprite usually refers to an elf or fairy in European folklore. A common description would include pointed ears, green skin when naked and long hair. Their bodies would be stocky or lithe depending on where they lived. A Moon Sprite would come out at night in the moonlight. Here our Sprite seems to be taking a rest, sitting on a rock bent over its knees as if dozing with the head hanging over the right knee and the curly hair touching it. You can see both ears sticking up through at the top sides of the head, the face turned to the left. The features are only suggested with a delicate nose and mouth and eyes that appear to be closed. The figure could be either male or female with sturdy legs, a broad back and neck, and small breasts only suggested. The figure and face look very much like the male model Allen was using at the time. “Worked much from model (man). Made Cain, Flight of the Arrow, Moon Sprite, Primeval Prayer.”

Auguste Rodin, Andromeda (1886)
Auguste Rodin, Andromeda (1886)

This is really a figure study without arms after the manner of Rodin. Compare the Sprite to Rodin’s Andromeda (pictured at right). The body forms a pleasing curve that puts the torso in shadow on the right side, forming a curtain to the light behind it and hiding what would be a right arm. The curved form is closed on the right and completely open on the left. Since there is no arm there, you can see the continuous line of the oval from the seat through the curve of the back and head continuing to the knees and under the back of the thighs to the seat again. On the right the oval is solid, filled in by the hair or head covering that falls to the side down past the rock to the ground like a sheet of water, leaving the rounded back and both lower legs and feet exposed. Shorter hair shows at the nape of the neck and curls around the face in front, adding some texture and detail to the otherwise smooth planes of the figure. The details are unimportant. It’s the figure and the form that stand out.

Bronze, dark green patina
Named “Seated Woman” by the Allen family who didn’t know it had a name.
Location: Private collection
Foundry: Gorham Co Founders, Stamped on the base GAC GORHAM CO FOUNDERS OAHA

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