December 5, 2021 14:00 EST

American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists Featuring the Collection of Virginia and Stuart Peltz

 
Lot 47
 

47

Donald de Lue (American, 1900–1988)
Spirit of American Youth

Signed, dated and inscribed 'De Lue SC © 1955/ DLNMB DELANO' (on the circular base, to the left), bronze with golden brown patina on grey marble base
Height: 37 1/4 in. (94.6cm)
Width: 15 in. (38.1cm)
Depth: 7 in. (17.8cm)
Cast by Roman Bronze Works, New York, New York.

Provenance

Collection of Philip Schiavo, New York.
Acquired directly from the above.
Private Collection, Pennsylvania.
By descent in the family.
Private Collection, Pennsylvania.

Sold for $50,400
Estimated at $15,000 - $25,000


 

Signed, dated and inscribed 'De Lue SC © 1955/ DLNMB DELANO' (on the circular base, to the left), bronze with golden brown patina on grey marble base
Height: 37 1/4 in. (94.6cm)
Width: 15 in. (38.1cm)
Depth: 7 in. (17.8cm)
Cast by Roman Bronze Works, New York, New York.

Provenance

Collection of Philip Schiavo, New York.
Acquired directly from the above.
Private Collection, Pennsylvania.
By descent in the family.
Private Collection, Pennsylvania.

Literature

D. Roger Howlett, The Sculpture of Donald DeLue: Gods, Prophets and Heroes, Godine, Boston, 1990, pp. 48, 70-75 (other models, including preparatory ones, illustrated).

Note

By the time the present work was created, Donald de Lue's career was flourishing, and the artist finally enjoyed working alone without needing to assist other sculptors. The Spirit of American Youth, which shows a graceful young ephebe rising from the waves, was commissioned by the American Battle Monuments for the Omaha Beach Memorial at Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, to commemorate the heroic deaths of the Allies on D-Day. The project called for a twenty-two feet sculpture, cast in bronze - by far the largest figure De Lue would have produced to date. As the artist himself recalled: "I knew the opportunity would never present itself again so I put every effort to it I possibly could do." In 1951, José García Mazás wrote: "On the Spirit of American Youth, De Lue was able to lend eloquence of expression to his masterpiece, from the feet, which surge from the froth of a wave, to the moving shape of the head of the young giant. The arms express the idea of limitless flight into the blue. This entire endeavor is a hymn to resurrection, which is exactly what triumph should signify to those who died in Normandy." De Lue's style is marked by a tendency to exaggerate the figure's musculature, which comes from his observation of post-Alexandrian Hellenic sculptures. Yet, the physique of the man here appears secondary as De Lue makes a point of picturing the Allies' victory, not as a triumph of physical force, but as a result of sheer determination and morale. Although De Lue was not the only sculptor to be awarded a public commission, Spirit of American Youth stands out as the epitome of "architectural sculpture," which slowly disappeared in favor of "unadorned glass boxes."

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Donald De Lue