Contemporary sculpture is characterised by a variety of unprecedented styles, themes and mediums. The Nasher Collection is one of the most representative and complete private sculpture collections in the twentieth century that faithfully reflects this diversity. The pieces, amassed by Raymond Nasher since the Sixties, are spread out in Dallas between his house and NorthPark, an office complex and shopping centre created by Nasher himself.
The collection contains examples of the first stages of twentieth-century sculpture, and includes works by such distinguished artists as: Auguste Rodin, Aristide Maillol, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Constantin Brancusi, Jean Arp, Jean Dubuffet, Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Serra and Jonathan Borofsky, among others. The Nasher Collection totals more than one hundred sculptures, sixty of which are displayed at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
This exhibition is testimony to the importance of sculptures such as Eva (1881) by Auguste Rodin, which is part of the large project The Gates of Hell and is considered the founding piece of contemporary sculpture. The roughness, anatomical distortions and simplicity give the work its expressive force.
The plaster cast of Brancusi's The Kiss (1907-08), originally sculpted in stone, possesses great simplicity, whereby every carved line emphasises both the sculpture block and the two barely formed figures that make up the piece.
Of the eight sculptures by Alberto Giacometti in the exhibition, Spoon-Woman (1926-27), displayed alongside Venetian Woman III (1956), show the importance of primitive art for the artist since it characterises his work so predominantly.
The collection also contains six works by Pablo Picasso, three of which are displayed in the exhibition. For instance Cabeza de Mujer (1931), representing the head of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter, stands out for its violent and erotic forms. Another Spaniard, Joan Miró, also features with Pájaro lunar (1944-46), where he combines human and animal anatomy to create a figure that is part man, part bull and part bird.
While Jean Dubuffet parodies monumental sculpture in the figurative tradition with The Gossiper II (1969-1970), a large piece with bold colours and exuberant forms and drawings.
The constructivist tradition is represented through works by Naum Gabo, Alexander Calder, Jacques Lipchitz and David Smith, among others, and the responses to constructivism in the Sixties by Barnett Newman, John Chamberlain, Anthony Caro, Richard Serra, Donald Judd, Joel Shapiro and Alain Kirili.
Both humour and manipulations of scale are present in the Claes Oldenburg piece Typewriter Eraser (1976), Roy Lichtenstein's Double Glass (1979-1980) and the work by Jonathan Borofsky entitled The Hammering Man (1984-85). This last work refers to the monotony of mechanical work and is exhibited in the entrance to the Centro de Arte in all of its dimensions. Furthermore, around the edge of the museum there is also Tony Smith's The Snake is Out (1962) and in the museum's entrance hall the sculpture Rush Hour (1983) by George Segal can be found.
The exhibition culminates in the courtyard with three important works by Henry Moore Three Piece Sculpture (1968), Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 9 (1968) and Reclining Figure: Angles (1979) as well as Barbara Hepworth's Square with Two Circles (1963).
The high quality of the works and their relevance to Contemporary art mean this exhibition is a significant event in the history of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, which is also simultaneously housing the minimalist works that belong to the Panza Collection.