Anita Weschler worked in modes ranging from portraiture to abstraction using a variety of materials such as paint, stone, wood, and bronze. A cofounder of the Sculptors’ Guild in New York, she strove to create works that balance “form and substance.” According to Wescher, “Each is determined by the other and each is dependent on the other. The finer an art is the closer it approaches the point where fusions of mind and matter are complete and perfect.”
In her sculptures, Weschler applies the principles of abstract art—form, line and texture—to highly narrative subjects. She was mentored by William Zorach (1887–1966) and was inspired by German expressionist sculptor Ernest Barlach (1870–1938). Zorach provided an exemplar for the primitivist simplification of forms. Weschler preferred casting to direct carving but sought the natural texture of stone. In her search for an alternative to bronze casting, she developed her own method of stone casting in which aggregate cements and crushed stone are poured into a mold.
During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Weschler made a series of sculptures that explore antiwar themes, all of which are executed in the simplified forms and strong contours of the primitivist style. Victory Ball concludes the series with an image of people celebrating the end of World War II. Although ostensibly an expression of joy, the dense, multi-figure composition shows the bacchanalian excesses of street celebrations in 1945. Inebriated male figures collapse in a pile, while a lone woman on the right dances with abandon. Attuned to the increasingly consumerist ethos of American society in the early 1950s, Weschler looked back on the 1945 celebrations as harbingers of future excess.
Location: Bass Concert Hall Lobby, Sixth Floor