In the year 1922, the Polish pianist, composer and politician, Ignac Paderewsky, sat for the American sculpture, Malvina Cornell Hoffman, at her studio in New York. The result of their collaboration was a strong friendship, born from mutual respect of each others’ talents, and three bronze portrait busts depicting what Hoffman believed to be his three selves: Paderewsky the Statesman, Paderewski the Artist and Paderewski the Man (or Friend).
Two of these, The Artist and The Man, are in the collections of two of the country’s most prestigious institutional collections, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. One of only three casts of the third, The Statesman, will be offered for sale on May 1 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. It is from the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia and is expected to greatly exceed its preliminary estimate of $10-15,000.
All three Paderewski’s were exhibited at Knoedler’s Gallery in 1923 where Paderewski attended the opening himself. The Statesman was further exhibited in 1923 by the Painters’ and Sculptors’ Gallery Association at Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City. It was awarded the “Joan of Arc Gold Medal” by the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors.
Two life-size bronze casts of The Statesman were made. The first cast was exhibited in 1924 at the City Art Museum in St. Louis, the Fine Arts Academy in Buffalo and Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was also exhibited in 1925 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The first cast was subsequently purchased in 1925 by a group of Paderewski’s friends and supporters and placed in Steinway Hall, New York City. In 1952 it was moved to the Permanent Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The High Museum’s cast was the second, created in 1931 by the Alexis Fudier Foundry in Paris. The present cast, which sits upon a large marble plinth, was exhibited at the National Arts Club in 1962 in New York City.