Frishmuth’s The Vine (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 11)

My Innovators in Sculpture tour starts at Frishmuth’s The Vine, one of my favorite sculptures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art – and a great example of how far sculptors had come since ca. 1,500 BC.

Hatshepsut, ca. 1479-1458 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1928. Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, The Vine, 1921.Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1927. Photos: MetMuseum.org

Hatshepsut, ca. 1479-1458 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1928. Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, The Vine, 1921.Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1927. Photos: MetMuseum.org

The model for The Vine (and several other sculptures by Frishmuth) was Desha Delteil, who danced with the Fokine Ballet. Frishmuth said she preferred dancers as models, because they had the strength and stamina to hold difficult poses. Here’s a study photo of Desha holding the pose for The Vine.

Desha Delteil posing for Frishmuth's The Vine, which was completed in 1921.

Desha Delteil posing for Frishmuth’s The Vine, which was completed in 1921.

There are differences: Desha’s head isn’t tilted back quite as far, her left elbow isn’t raised as high, and the line of her body reads as a curve rather than a vertical followed by a curve. And while Desha has a sleek, dancer’s body, the figure in The Vine is streamlined … of course, being made of shiny bronze makes a difference.

Frishmuth Vine sculpture photo copy

Left: Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, The Vine, 1921.Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1927. Photo: MetMuseum.org. Right: Desha Delteil posing for The Vine.

More

  • Photos of Desha and more Frismuth pieces are here.
  • Contact me (DuranteDianne@gmail.com)  if you’re interested in the Innovators in Sculpture tour. We can arrange to do it at our mutual convenience for $500 (up to 10 people), or I can add you to my mailing list so you’ll be notified next time I schedule it for the general public.
  • If you’re not planning to travel to New York, a version of the tour is available as a Kindle book: Innovators in Sculpture.

About Dianne L. Durante

I’m an independent scholar and freelance writer /lecturer on art and art history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are *Innovators in Sculpture¸* a survey of 5,000 years of art in two hours, and *Monuments of Manhattan,* a videoguide app by Guides Who Know that’s based on my book *Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide.*

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