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Ursula von Rydingsvard grew up in labor camps under the Nazis, followed by refugee camps in postwar Germany. Descending from a long line of Polish farmers, she imbues her art with a feeling of sturdiness and an emphasis on wood and woodwork. At the same time, her sculptures have a raw and elemental quality, which shivers between Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism. For Three Bowls, the artist cut each beam individually, then stacked them and rubbed them with graphite to achieve a worn texture. The sculpture has a massive, almost monolithic presence; it evokes rustic houses, perhaps cabins in the woods or barracks, like those in which the artist spent her early childhood. Von Rydingsvard transforms the common, utilitarian form of a bowl into a metaphor for the past and for rural life, thus reconnecting with her own origins.

Culture: American

Period: 20th century

Credit: Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection

1989
Cedar and graphite
144.1 x 294.6 x 152.4 cm
2006.52.58
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Yale University Art Gallery
Yale University Art Gallery
Permanent collection