Biennale di Venezia 2019
- U.S. Pavilion
Martin Puryear (b. 1941)
« A Column for Sally Hemings », 2019
cast iron, painted tulip poplar
203 x 40 x 40 cm
Puryear's newest sculpture, conceived specifically for the rotunda of the U.S. Pavilion, echoes the four Doric columns at the building's entry. A shackled cast-iron stake is driven into the top of the column and pulls the flutes down into the center, destabilizing the pristine purity of the column's classic form. Puryear's sculpture is dedicated to Sally Hemings, an African American slave owned by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. Jefferson was the father of her chil- dren. The U.S. Pavilion dates to 1930, and the New York firm Delano and Aldrich brought a neoclassical vocabulary to this Depression-era building. It was influenced by the Renaissance master Andrea Palladio, who also inspired the design of Monticello, the plantation and home Thomas Jefferson designed for himself in Virginia. Palladio, who looked to ancient Greek sources, worked magnificently in Venice (San Giorgio Maggiore and I Redentore) and the Veneto.