Louis E. Stern


By: Louis E. Stern

Originally Published in 1952

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Louis Stern amongst the collections storage, examining an object on a shelf.

Pottery of the 15th century A.D. from Lago de Ajudante, Brazil, interested Mr. Stern.

I was attracted by the grace of these potteries.

The shapes have some relation to the Persian and Chinese, as well as the Greeks, although it is hardly likely that these people had access to this an. The outstanding feature of these is the design on the face.

Apparently they were imaginary portraits of either the deceased or their gods. Their strong kinship to Klee struck me instantly. Their designs have the same whimsy and the same delicacy, which make them intriguing to me.

A stone figurine of an eagle.

This stone figure of an eagle is Hittite, 13th century B. C.

Because it is a visual thing, we sometimes expect art co be explained simply, but, it has many variants of personality and taste. To define beauty is difficult and subtle. I chink that what we say about an object of art has no more relation to its unique quality than grammar has to language.

When I saw the Hittite eagle, its form, its strength and its human quality were to me immediately apparent. Bird mythology is a tradition with all primitive people, the outstanding example being the hawk that was the Egyptian deity Horus. In modern times we have Rubens’ eagle, Bracquemand’s coq, and Picasso’s dove of peace.

This bird has monumentality and it looks at me with wisdom and a sense of humor.

A set of bronze ornaments depicting horses.
Museum Object Numbers: 41-37-54 / 41-37-52 / 41-37-419 / 41-37-86 / 41-37-36 / 41-37-19 / 41-37-3 / 41-37-43

The bronze ornaments in the photograph were made from Han times to Ming, that is 200 B.C. to 1600 A.D.

These strangely modern small figures from the Ordos region of Inner Mongolia are beautifully cast, mostly in animal forms, stylized and realistic at the same time. They are the work of many peoples who travelled through Central Asia for centuries following the second century B.C., and are representative of a widespread “animal style” that penetrated far into Siberia and even into Alaska.

Cite This Article

Stern, Louis E.. "Louis E. Stern." Museum Bulletin XVI, no. 3 (February, 1952): 30-35. Accessed July 15, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/3505/

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