Elie Nadelman (born Eliasz Nadelman; February 20, 1882 – December 28, 1946) was a Polish-American sculptor, draughtsmanand collector of folk art

Early years

Nadelman was born and studied briefly in Warsaw and then visited Munich in 1902 where he became interested in Classical antiquities at the Glyptothek. He lived in Paris from 1904 to 1914, closely involved with the avant-garde, exhibiting at the Société des Artistes Indépendants and at the Salon d’Automne from 1905 to 1908. His first solo exhibition in 1909 at the Galerie Druet, Paris, revealed a large series of plaster and bronze classical female heads and full-length standing nudes and mannered Cubist drawings; the latter purchased by Leo Stein, who had brought Picasso to Nadelman’s studio in 1908. Nadelman’s work in this early period (1905–12) was of crucial importance for early 20th-century modern sculpture.

He moved to the United States (becoming an American citizen in 1927) during the outbreak of World War I. He married Mrs. Viola Flannery, a wealthy heiress, in 1920. He and his wife assembled a large collection of folk art and erected a Museum of Folk Arts in Riverdale, N.Y. in 1925. At the same time, his own style was at times Classical, at times decorative, and at times a new kind of sophisticated urban folk art. He attempted to release large, inexpensive editions of his simple, classical, Tanagra-like small figures. All in all, Nadelman collected thousands upon thousands of folk art and added them to his vast collection.

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