Permanent Galleries

Printer's Box, 1958

Printer's Box, 1958
American, born in France, 1930
wood and ceramic
17.44 x 22.44 x 3 inches (44.29 x 57 x 7.62 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Bergman

The daughter of wealthy Venezuelan parents who divided their time between Europe, South America, and the United States, Marisol spent much of her childhood in luxurious settings. This set the tone for a life of world travel, during which the quiet, reserved sculptor intersected with principal artists of the twentieth century: she was a student of Hans Hoffman; befriended the Abstract Expressionists, becoming especially close to Willem de Kooning; and participated in two Andy Warhol movies.

Printer’s Box is an early work created when Marisol was twenty-eight. It illustrates her interest in found objects, Pre-Columbian ceramic figurines, American folk art, and religion. As a teenager, Marisol was deeply interested in Catholic mysticism’s saints and martyrs, and she imposed severe penitential acts on herself. This personal history may provide clues to reading the sculpture as a primitive folk altar. The hand-formed anthropomorphic figures might be modeled after PreColumbian ceramic figurines, or they might be totemic figures inspired by those created early in the careers of the Abstract Expressionists. The found object, a printer’s type box, possibly references Surrealism, with the figures an array of subconscious memories.

Anchored by the concepts of modern art, enigmatic, and quietly provocative, the sculpture is quintessential Marisol.