Augusta Savage’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (The Harp) as a Work of “Objective” Art

Author:Jon Woodson Time:2019-07-09 Click:

Augusta Savage’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is discussed as a composite work showing influences from ancient Egyptian musical instruments, surrealism, August Rodin, and ancient Egyptian funerary and devotional sculpture. The sculpture is a significant departure from the social realist sculpture of the New Deal era. “Objective” artworks like Savage’s sculpture have been overwritten by inadequate investigations. Savage approximates the shape of Rodin’s hand and arm in the sound board of her harp. A comparison of Savage’s sculpture with a concert harp shows that the kneeling figure (the foot pedal) is at the wrong end of the harp. In “objective” art mistakes are meaningful, while in “subjective” art mistakes have no useful status. The mistaken position of the kneeling figure at the front of Savage’s magical harp establishes it as the most significant aspect of the esoteric symbolism of Savage’s sculpture. Savage’s sculpture implicates A. R. Orage's esoteric intervention in history.

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