Jacques Lipchitz

American and French sculptor (1891-1973)

Jacques Lipchitz (22 August [O.S. 10 August] 1891 – May 16, 1973) was an American cubist sculptor.

Columbia University, NYC 2014.


  • I also found so-called great art too pompous, too stiff. What at this time was called minor art was freer, more imaginative, more open to all kinds of unorthodox expression, all kinds of daring in the handling of materials, and I preferred to surround myself with this type of art than with the great collectors' pieces.
    • Jacques Lipchitz in: The Lipchitz (Jacques, Yulla & Lolya) Collection. University Publishers, 1960. p. 4
  • Copy nature and you infringe on the work of our Lord. Interpret nature and you are an artist.
    • Jacques Lipchitz cited in: Bernard S. Raskas (1976). Living thoughts: inspiration, insight, and wisdom from sources throughout the ages. p. 22; Quoted in: William Safire, ‎Leonard Safir (1990). Words of Wisdom. p. 34
  • I am the most curious of all to see what will be the next thing that I will do.
    • Jacques Lipchitz cited in: Bertie Charles Forbes (1992) Forbes, Vol. 149, Nr. 5-9, p. 424

Jacques Lipchitz: The Artist at Work, 1966


Jacques Lipchitz in: Bert Van Bork (1966) ..Jacques Lipchitz: The Artist at Work.

  • Imagination is a very precise thing, you know — it is not fantasy. Remember, the other day I gave you the example of what I mean, what the difference between fantasy and imagination is. I gave you the example of the man who invented the of the man who invented the wheel while he was observing another man walking.
    • p. 60
  • For me sculpture is divinity. This is the only answer that I could find for myself. Art is man's distinctly human way of fighting death. Through art, man achieves immortality and in this immortality we find God.
    • p. 189
  • Cubism is not a formula, it is not a school. Cubism is a philosophy, a point of view in the universe. It is like standing at a certain point on a mountain and looking around. If you go higher, things will look different; if you go lower, again they will look different. It is a point of view.
    • p. 199
  • All my life as an artist I have asked myself: What pushes me continually to make sculpture? I have found the answer — at least the answer for myself. Art is an action against death. It is denial of death.
    • p. 202

Jacques Lipchitz: My life in sculpture, 1972


Jacques Lipchitz, ‎H. Harvard Arnason (1972). Jacques Lipchitz: My life in sculpture.

  • The period during the First World War was a very exciting time in Paris, with artists, philosophers, and poets continually discussing and arguing about the work with which they were involved. Although I myself am little concerned with abstract theory, I certainly do think of cubism as a form of emancipation essentially different from artistic movements that had preceded it. Thus, impressionism, while it was a revolutionary technique, was still an essentially naturalistic movement concerned with a precise examination of the nature of light and the effect of changing lights on representational scenes and objects. Cubism did add a new dimension to painting and sculpture, a dimension that changed our way of looking at nature and the work of art.
    • p. 40
  • I remember one day when Juan Gris told me about a bunch of grapes he had seen in a painting by Picasso. The next day these grapes appeared in a painting by Gris, this time in a bowl; and the day after, the bowl appeared in a painting by Picasso.
    • p. 40
  • By the early 1920s I knew that I needed to move beyond the simple cubist vocabulary I had learned and to find a new content, a new personal expression.Abstraction was never enough for me.
    • p. 41

Quotes about Lipchitz

  • Jacques Lipchitz and Marc Chagall were among the European artists who settled in New York City during the war. Just before and after he arrived in 1941, Lipchitz gave his works such titles as Flight (1940), The Exile's Path (1941), The Rape of Europa (1941), and Theseus and the Minotaur (1942).
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