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The sculpture of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz is largely drawn from her experience of World War II and its aftermath. She is best known for her "crowds" (as she calls them) of headless, rigidly posed figures whose anonymity and multiplicity have been regarded as the artist's personal response to totalitarianism.

Each of the thirty bronzes in Puellae (meaning "girls" in Latin) is unique, made from individually sculpted wax forms based on a body cast of a single child model. Abakanowicz applied burlap to each of the forms prior to casting to give them a rough, organic texture. This work refers to an account the artist heard while growing up in Poland about a group of children who froze to death as they were transported in cattle cars from Poland to Germany during the war.


on rear, the artist's symbol, with the date


(Marlborough Gallery, Inc., New York); purchased 1 February 1999 by NGA.


Cigola, Francesca. Art Parks: A Tour of America’s Sculpture Parks and Gardens. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2013: 101.

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