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David Hare

American, 1917–1992

Sunrise, 1954–55

Bronze and steel
71 x 42 x 22 inches (180.3 x 106.7 x 55.9 cm)
George Cary Fund, 1955

Sunrise is part of a series of sculptures that relates to the natural world. The series is unusual in that it represents landscape, a subject matter more commonly seen in painting. Intangible atmospheric effects such as haze, clouds, or reflections are created in painting through the use of illusion. In sculpture, such phenomena are much more difficult to reproduce.

At first, most viewers perceive Sunrise as an extremely abstract sculpture. However, once any one of the elements is identified, the others become clear. The rounded shape with knife-like projections at the top of the work is the sun, rising above a horizontal cloud. The rods extending downward from the cloud might represent rain, and the rock at the bottom the earth. A crescent moon is one of the largest elements in the work, and Hare has stated that the round object in the center is also a moon. The suspended object composed of metal pieces projecting out in various directions is a star.

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