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In the Boudoir (Before the Mirror)

Alexander Porfirevich Archipenko, American (born Ukraine), 1887 - 1964

Alexander Archipenko began working in 1914 in the genre he called “sculpto-painting,” using materials such as sheet metal, wood, printed paper, and photographs, all present in this example, to put a modern spin on the medium of relief sculpture. Combined with oil paint, these materials generated complex pictorial effects of transparency and reflection, flatness and volume, and color and form. In the Boudoir depicts the private scenario of a woman confronting her reflection in a vanity mirror. Snippets of shiny sheet metal enhance the ambiguity between real and represented effects. Patterned paper stands for a covering on the dresser table. A collaged photograph of a dapper Archipenko in a yellow frame serves doubly as a visual signature (though his actual signature is also inscribed at lower right) and a sly insertion of the artist’s own presence.


Object Details
Christian Brinton (1870-1942), West Chester, PA, by 1932 [1]; gift to PMA, 1941.1. The painting was lent by Brinton to the "Exhibition of Russian Painting and Sculpture: Realism to Surrealism," Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts, 1932, no. 6.

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