Dora Gordine remembered in Sculptor, Artist, Designer at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery

By Culture24 Reporter | 26 September 2011
Find out about Dora Gordine's link to Worthing Museum and Art Gallery:

Exhibition: Dora Gordine – Sculptor, Artist, Designer, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, October 8 2011 – January 21 2012
Anyone left cold by sculpture with finesse but no heart should find their faith restored by Dora Gordine’s bronzes.

Born in Estonia but first recognised for her craft in Paris in the 1920s, Gordine poured passion into her work, imbuing it with the sense of forceful charisma which took her to Singapore in the 1930s, London during the war and America by the 1950s.

“When you only do their noses and mouth and all that, it’s nothing,” she once claimed.

“You have to imagine what they are like inside and bring out their inner life, inner feelings, and then put it in a form.”

She aimed to capture the soul in statuesque. “The feelings, nostalgia, dreams…you have to put it in your sculpture.”

Brenda Martin, of the museum at the Dorich House studio where Gordine worked after her move to England and died at the age of 96 in 1991, first assembled this retrospective in 2009.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour at the time, she observed Gordine as a figure of supreme zest.

“She was very passionate about her work and dedicated to her art, but she was very controlling and determined,” she added.

“She curated her own life, as it were, around her sculpture. If you want to understand her you should look at her art.”

Gordine lived at Dorich with Richard Hare, her well-to-do husband who connected her to the great and good in the capital at the time, but she largely disappeared following his death in 1966.

Among pieces which were considered as fine as any made in Europe during her lifetime, Happy Baby was made for the opening of the mother and baby unit at Holloway Women’s Prison, and the identity of the contented child in question was only rumbled when the sitter – whose family were friends of Gordine and Hare – spotted it in this exhibition.

There are also drawings, photos, letters and magazines on display here, all of which will follow its star’s trail by travelling to Estonia next year and Singapore in 2013.

Pictures from the show:

A black and white photo of a female artist sculpting a head
The artist and her husband, Richard Hare© Dorich House Museum
A photo of large stone sculptures of bodies
Ballet Figures© Dorich House Museum
A photo of a bronze female head in profile
Black Orchid© Dorich House Museum
A photo of a sculpted head on a block of wood
Chinese Philosopher© Dorich House Museum
A black and white photo of two women looking at a sculpted miniature figure
Gordine was born in Estonia and earned Parisian prominence during the 1920s© Dorich House Museum
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