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  • Bonnie MacLeary (American, 1890-1971) Bronze Sculpture "Squawkie Birds" c. 1930
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American Art Nouveau Bronze Sculpture | "Squawkie Birds" Bonnie MacLeary

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Cast by Gorham, base impressed "Gorham Co. Founders, OFGW” and signed “Bonnie Mac Leary”, c. 1930
Item # 607EJB20X

A flawlessly cast example of the very fine work executed by the Gorham foundry, the traces of impressionism are refined with a technical adherence to scale and anatomical accuracy with perfectly smooth skin and crisp tight detailing where MacLeary intended such to exist.  The sculpture was catalogued for copyright in 1930, the entry noting:

"Squawkie birds. Fountain design of nude girl holding a tiny duck in her hands, with a mother duck and a tiny one at her feet squaking a protest. Copyright at 1 c. Dec 6, 1930; G4949" [Library of Congress Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, New Series, Vol. 25, For the Year 1930, Works of Art, Etc., p. 253]

This moving work is a complex and carefully balanced sculpture, where the young woman’s body is suspended over the arch of her foot with no armature anchoring - as a result, the foot has seen some stress and shows a thin crack across the top of the arch. The youthful figure is falling in love with this tiny duckling her her arms and, despite the rather intense protestation of it’s mother, her relaxed posture and face capture a young woman in control of her environment and emotions. She is unfazed, perhaps even bemused by the duck. MacLeary’s work focused almost exclusively around female figures, capturing a spirit of independence and self reliance in her figures that is most moving. The sculpture is finished in a deep patina with a mix of reddish-browns set against an intentional verdigris green in the recesses and darker chocolate hues across the base and ducks. Plaster fills the underside of the base in the typical manner of Gorham Co. Founders, this covered with an old green felt. A most impressive piece for the serious collector of fine Art Nouveau works.

Literature & Sale Results:

  • Art Bronzes, Forrest, 1988, p. 479
  • Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, Opitz, 1986
  • Ectase” c. 1929 15 3/4” H, lot 1355, Rago Arts, May 20 2007, achieved $ 10,200 USD
  • Frolicking Fish” c. 1925 18 1/2” H, lot 1016, Heritage Auction, March 4 2006, achieved $ 11,000 USD
  • Aspiration” c. 1921 28 3/8” H, lot 60, Doyle New York, June 3 2015, achieved $ 8,750 USD

Measurements:  13” H x 5” W x 3 3/4” D

Condition Report:
Tiny crack in arch of foot. Otherwise exceptional condition.