Watercolor and pencil on paper, 1917. 280x219 mm; 11 1/4x8 3/4 inches. Signed and dated in ink, lower right recto.
Provenance: Private collection, Chicago.
Marguerite Thomas Zorach (1887-1968) and her husband William (1887-1966) are renowned for their innovation during the rise of American modernism, embodied by their unique blend of Cubism and Fauvism as well as the scope of their varied careers. Marguerite was an early exponent of modernism in America, born in California into a well-to-do family. She exhibited an interest in art at an early age, and studied at Stanford University before traveling to Paris with her aunt, where she was introduced to Gertrude Stein and exposed to the work of Henri Matisse. There she discovered her affinity for the color palette of the Fauves. Marguerite studied for a period of time at the conservative Académie de la Grande Chaumière before attending the progressive art school La Palette, where she met her future husband, William. Their marriage, in 1912, began a strong companionship in which the two artists consistently inspired, influenced and shaped each another's artistic lives.
Born in 1887 in Lithuania, William Zorach immigrated to Cleveland, with his family at age 4. He worked as both a sculptor and watercolorist at the vanguard of American modernism, after briefly studying in Paris in the early 1910s. While Zorach initially practiced painting, his interests in sculpture, which took root in 1917, soon eclipsed all other media. By the 1930s, Zorach was regarded as one of America's premier sculptors and was honored with multiple commissions and exhibitions including shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.