La Montagne, the 4500 pound monumental cement sculpture by Gaston Lachaise,was successfully moved indoors to prevent further deterioration. She has resided in a wooded grove on the grounds since her 1934 commission by George L.K. Morris.The approximately 4'x8' reclining woman was placed on 6 cement posts, six feet high.
La Montagne is the culmination of a series begun in 1913 by Lachaise in New York. The work represents at once a landscape and the figure of Isabel Dutaud Nagle, the artist's muse, model and eventual wife. Lachaise envisioned a piece that was "great and solemn." "You are the Goddess I seek to express in all my work," he wrote to her in 1915-16.
This veritable Mother Earth, mature and abstracted, looking East to the rising sun, offers a rewarding contemplation for people in motion.
E. E. Cummings once likened Lachaise's work to a "slow arrow of beauty vigorously expressing something of a civilization of which speed seems to be the god." Lincoln Kirstein, a friend of the artist's and a founder of the School of American Ballet, described La Montagne as "the balance of breathing sumptuousness, a mountain raised into air, earth sharing the shape of clouds." (MoMA Retrospective, 1935).