This bronze by Leonard Baskin shows a seated, naked man with his arms folded

Leonard Baskin

American, 1922–2000

Seated Fat Man, 1956

Bronze

13¼ inches high

Home schooled by his rabbi father, Baskin credits an arts and crafts exhibition at Macy’s in New York with opening his eyes to art. “I stood, pierced and unmoving, watching a young woman model a head. I was a child, the performance doubtlessly tawdry, but I was sensible to the archetypal magic of forms of nature in dimensional space. This autobiographical fragment stands at the heart of my years; it was the capital event in my life.”

Baskin central subject was the male figure. “The female form is useful for some ideas, but the colossal male is better suited to the ghoulish ones I try to portray,” he said. Scholar Irma Jaffe says, “Seated Fat Man, one of the finest of the early bronzes, is a self-hugging, large-headed, thick-necked, heavy-bodied grotesque with slender shapely legs. The inventive distortion of formal aesthetic relations is a visual metaphor for the moral distortion of complacency.”

This bronze by Leonard Baskin shows a seated, naked man with his arms folded