Maria Freire (1917 - 2015)

Cabeza - Abstracción (1948)
Head - Abstraction

height: 25cm
width: 10cm

Donated by María Freire 1996


María Freire describes this bronze head as marking a turning point in her career, 'una etapa de liberación de una enseñanza inspirada en los griegos y en Maillol' (a phase of liberation from an education inspired by the Greeks and by Maillol). After this time her work became more thoroughly abstract as she moved first to constructivist sculptures and then to painting, and to an increasing preoccupation with colour and sign.

The 'head-abstraction' is indeed an abstraction of a head. The pure geometry of a square, a circle and a wedge are combined into a form full of life: the surface of the bronze appears malleable. There are unmistakable echoes of African masks, but we do not necessarily need to look to the Parisian Cubists to find a source for this transitional 'head-abstraction'. Uruguay has its own strong African traditions, celebrated most famously in the work of Figari, but María Freire's exploration of the theme is unique amongst her Uruguayan contemporaries at this date.

Valerie Fraser, 2008

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