Hagar in the Desert

Jacques Lipchitz


Hayden Library (Building 14) Lipchitz Courtyard

Following his escape from France in 1941, Lipchitz turned often to Jewish ceremonial and historical subjects. He represented the Biblical story of Hagar and her son Ishmael in a series of three finished sculptures. The first two were made in 1948 and 1949, but the third, Hagar in the Desert, was not completed until 1957.

The Old Testament patriarch Abraham cast Hagar and her child out into the desert where they were without water. Hagar, in her despair, heard an angel’s voice that roused her to hope and in a vision was shown the spring that was her salvation.

Lipchitz has imagined the motherly protection of Hagar as she offers her child comfort and refuge in her arms. She looks heavenward for aid with a mixture of despair and hope. The enlarged limbs and rhetorical gestures, angular forms, and roughly modeled surfaces of Hagar in the Desert convey the passion of the unremitting human struggle for existence.

Read more about Jacques Lipchitz








29.5 in. x 30 in. x 21 in. (74.93 cm x 76.2 cm x 53.34 cm)


Gift of Yulla Lipchitz in Memory of Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner