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The artistic career of sculptor Lilian Swann Saarinen (1912-1995) began with her studies at the NYC Art Students League in 1928, followed by the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan 1936 to 1940. She would live much of her adult life in Massachusetts, as well as Europe, teaching at the Pratt Institute, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Saarinen also participated in a Red Cross rehabilitation program, teaching soldiers ceramic sculpture. Much of the artist's inspiration came from animals and nature; one of her best known works, entitled 'Night', exhibited at the World's Fair in 1939, which depicts the panther Bagheera from Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book', was later set in the Boston Public Garden in 1986. Amongst many projects and commissions for public sculpture and reliefs, often working alongside her husband, architect Eero Saarinen, she designed the 'Screaming Eagle' sculpture for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, as well as producing reliefs for the WPA. Saarinen's broad range within the cultural arts also extended to the literary field, when in 1935 she illustrated 'Picture Book Zoo', followed by the publication of her 1946 children's book 'Who am I?' This engaging bronze sculpture, created by Saarinen circa 1939, depicts a beautifully detailed woman playing the accordion; her stance, leaning back and slightly contrapposto beneath the weight of the accordion, right foot peeking out from her long pleated dress, implicates movement and musical sound, as she handles the extending instrument, moving fingers hands along the keys. Markings include the artist's signature [Lillian Swann] and [Roman Bronze Works]. This piece is in overall good condition, with some wear on wood base.
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