Copper in the Arts

February 2021

Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum Acquires New 7-foot Bronze

By Paul David

A new 7 foot- bronze goddess presides over the pond at Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum. This significant work, recently announced by Director Marla Price, was unveiled Dec. 19, in one of the Modern’s first-floor pavilion galleries, and has become part of the museum’s permanent collection. Created by artist Wangechi Mutu, the 7-foot bronze titled The Seated III, 2019, depicts a seated majestic female figure entwined in bronze coils. 

“Wangechi Mutu’s recent group of four bronze female figures is exciting and powerful, and we are honored to add one of them to our permanent collection,” says Price comments. 

modern.jpgWangechi Mutu, The Seated III, 2019. Bronze. 82 7/8
× 37 3/4 × 33 3/4 inches. Collection of the Modern Art
Museum of Fort Worth, The Friends of Art Endowment
Fund and Museum purchase. © Wangechi Mutu
Image courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery,
New York and Brussels. Photography by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Imaging, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, the artist currently divides her time between there and Brooklyn. She created The Seated III as part of an iconic four-sculpture commission for the façade of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for the exhibition The NewOnes, will free Us. This work and its mirror image, The Seated I, is placed on Fifth Avenue in New York City,  along with another mirrored pair, The Seated II and The Seated IV. Each figure was cast in an edition of three and two of the sculptures have entered the Met’s permanent collection, with the remaining piece relocating to Texas to overlook the Modern’s reflecting pond.

According to curators at The Modern, the artist’s interest in caryatids is centered around the carved bodies of strong women that are incorporated into many traditions of classical African sculpture. They include the royal staffs of the Kingdom of Luba from Central Africa, the holy stools of the Yoruba kings, the figures of mothers in Makonde ritual stools, and many others. The caryatids of African sculpture predate the classical Greek and Roman architectural figures, which are essentially anthropomorphic columns. These particular African caryatids represent the divine female in her role as a central pillar and are symbolic of her responsibility in society. It is these singular caryatids that inspired The New Ones, those relieved from their role of eternal weight-bearers. 

Mutu rewrites the role of the caryatid. The Seated III bears only her own weight and is unattached to the building or any structure around her. She is serene and regal, and her calm extends to her fingers and her expression, which is that of a woman in her rightful place

“Mutu’s The Seated III will change the face of the Modern,” remarks Senior Curator Andrea Karnes. “Like a divine presence presiding over the pond, this bronze goddess will shine on all who enter the museum, exuding a calm strength.”


Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, TX, (817) 738-9215

Also in this Issue:


2022   |   2021   |   2020   |   2019   |   2018   |   2017   |   2016   |   2015   |   2014   |   2013   |   2012   |   2011   |   2010   |   2009   |   2008   |   2007

Contact the Editor: