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Reuben Nakian
(born August 10, 1897, College Point, New York - died December 4, 1986, Stamford, Connecticut) was an American sculptor and teacher of Armenian extraction.

Nakian's recurring themes are from Greek and Roman mythology. Noted works include Leda and the Swan, The Rape of Lucrece, Hecuba, and The Birth of Venus. He was also commissioned to create portraits of Roosevelt's cabinet in the 1930s.

In 1915 Nakian studied at the Independent School of Art in New York City as well as the Robert Henri School with Homer Boss and A.S. Baylinson. Later he studied at the Art Students League of New York and was apprenticed to Paul Manship.[1]

Nakian met and befriended painters Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning in the 1930s and Marsden Hartley and Marcel Duchamp in the 1940s.

Poet Frank O'Hara was the curator of a major Reuben Nakian retrospective at New York City's Museum of Modern Art in 1966 where the artist was also exhibited in 1930. In the exhibition's catalog, O'Hara notes,

Nakian is unrepressed, un-neurotic, unabashed in his approach to sensuality, however tortuous his esthetic commitment, and whether his subject be death, bestiality, or Arcadian dalliance. This explicitness gives the "Nymph and Satyr" plaques a marvelous joy and ease, the "Europa" terra-cottas a voluptous dignity, and the "Leda and the Swan" drawings an almost comic abandon. Unlike most sexually oriented images in modern art, from Auguste Rodin to Andy Warhol, one finds no guilt or masochism in a Nakian. It is outgoing and athletic even in its releases and defeats: the satyr, the bull, the swan, the goat are each circumvented or absorbed by the goddess of his choice in the most choice of circumstances, that of his own choosing, like the amorous "dying" of the Elizabethans or the Metamorphoses of Ovid.

WorkNakian's work is in the collections of DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park[1], Fogg Art Museum[2], Smithsonian American Art Museum[3], Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden[4], Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art[5], Nassau County Museum of Art[6], Neuberger Museum of Art, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, University of Arizona Museum of Art, University of Michigan Museum of Art[7], Guilford College Art Gallery[8], Saint Joseph College Art Gallery, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Sheldon Art Gallery[9], Walker Art Center[10], National Gallery of Australia[11] [2]
[3], Portland Art Museum, Boca Raton Museum of Art

The sculpture "Voyage to Crete" can be found in the orchestra level of the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

[edit] TeachingNakian taught at Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts and at Pratt Institute in New York City. Among Nakian's students from his days teaching at the Newark School of Fine Arts are sculptor Larry McCabe and painter/sculptor Anthony Triano.

[edit] References1.^ Reuben Nakian - Biography Reuben Nakian
2.^ Reuben Nakian Online
3.^ Reuben Nakian - Museums Reuben Nakian
[edit] BooksMarika Herskovic, New York School Abstract Expressionists Artists Choice by Artists, (New York School Press, 2000.) ISBN 0-9677994-0-6. p. p. 33; p. 38; p. 262-265

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