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^ I'll : The Cleveland Museum of Art 

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December 20, 1993 Contact: Adele Z. Silver 

ART MUSEUM ACQUIRES TWO EXCEPTIONAL WORKS 

Two important works of art-the most ancient and the newest in the permanent collections- 
were approved by the Board of Trustees at its annual meeting on December 13, 1993. 

Stargazer is the name given to a series of sculptured figures made about 5000 years ago in 
West Asia, probably in regions now part of Turkey. These "stargazers" are among the earliest 
attempts to render the human figme in stone, and they are, according to curator of ancient art 
Arielle P. Kozloff, "arguably the most beautiful." The marble figure just acquired is the finest of its 
kind and in the best condition of the dozen that are known. Approximately 6-1/2 inches tall, the 
small female figure is brilliantly proportioned and balanced. Her ancient sculptor knew his stone 
intimately, deftly organizing the sculpture within the block of white marble so that a fine vein of 
charcoal grey fell across the figure’s forehead and draped the shoulder in the back. Eyes, ears, and 
nose are rendered as tiny accents visible only at close examination. The abstract female body lifts its 
head, shaped like a full moon atop an elegantly tapered neck, toward the heavens. Once in the 
collection of Nelson Rockefeller, Cleveland’s Stargazer becomes the most ancient human figural 
sculpture in the Museum and a cornerstone for all of the Museum’s collections of Western sculpture. 

The sculpture will go on exhibition in the galleries of Egyptian art during the second week 
of January, 1994. 

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Oblation is a complex and ambitious painting of 1990 by Francesco Clemente, who is at age 
41 is one of the most important artists of his generation. The composition depicts the hands, legs, 
and feet of a stylized male figure in a strange Yogic position. He occupies the top center, and below 
him are silhouettes of a variety of animals, painted primarily in dry white pigment (oil and tempera 
on linen). A bold red background unites the composition, severely reducing space by eliminating 
perspective, as the artist has eliminated modeling from the animals. 

Clemente’s title refers to the offering of bread and wine to God at Communion-or, more 
broadly stated, to any religious offering. For many years, Clemente has relied on non-Westem, 
especially Indian, influences, successfully incorporating imagery and iconography associated with 
Eastern religion, philosophy, and art to explore universal ideas of creation, life, and death. In 
Oblation^ he has particularly relied on animals for their rich association with Indian culture. The 


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Yogic position of the central male figure may, curator of contemporary art Tom Hinson observes, suggests 
the peace found in Yoga, when mind and body are in union, comparable to the sacred harmony achieved 
when man places himself in a reverential position toward animals. 

This is the first painting by Clemente, or by any contemporary Italian artist, to enter the Museum 
collection. It adds an impressive work by a prolific and inventive artist as well as a contemporary rendering 
of traditional imagery and iconography represented in the Museum’s renowned collection of Indian art. 

The painting is now on exhibition in Gallery 240, in the contemporary collection. 

Stargazer is acquired with funds from the Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. and John L. Severance Fimds. 
Oblation is purchased with income from the Dorothea Wright Hamilton Fund, dedicated monies to acquire 
art created during the past twenty years. 


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For additional information, photographs, slides, please contact Adele Z. Silver, Public Information, The 
Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard Cleveland OH 44106-1797; 216/421-7340.