La seconde nourrice

Bronze,1990 - (172x95 cm)

The wet nurse as a subject appears regularly in Antoni Clavé’s sculptures as early as the 1960’s. The first ones are small in size (roughly 20 centimeters tall): silhouettes that are clearly feminine but without any obvious maternal characteristic other than their rounded cheeks. They seem, in fact, more childlike than feminine.  In treating the subject in a larger format, their shape begins to swell, filling out in the manner of primitive figures of maternal deities. Here they begin to lose their initial identity as they are transformed into an allegory of fertility.

La seconde nourrice is a larger-than-life portrait bust. The subject has been reduced to the essential: generous breasts and welcoming arms. Here there is no need to detail the features of the face. When sculpting, Clavé is more “laid back” than when painting. Sculpture was an enjoyable “diversion” for the artist; one he took seriously but which was not necessarily made in view of exhibiting to the larger public. In La seconde nourrice, the use of a child’s beach toys to create the figure’s breasts is tinged with it a note of humor.