Nicole Eisenman’s Fountain Sculpture Finds A Forever Home

The large­scale outdoor installation Fountain by celebrated contemporary artist Nicole Eisenman will be permanently installed at the redeveloped 401 Park—a 1920s­-era Sears & Roebuck Co. building and historical landmark in The Fenway neighborhood of Boston—in late Spring 2019. The work will be unveiled during a community event on June 2, and will remain a fixture of the property’s soon-­to­-be-completed public park.

One of Eisenman’s most significant and celebrated works to date, the original iteration of the work, Sketch for a Fountain, made its international debut in 2017 at Skulptur Projekte Münster, an illustrious exhibition of site­-specific sculptural commissions that takes place in Münster, Germany every ten years and is organized by curator Kasper König. The installation features several monumental figures of bathers, situated in various positions of repose around a shallow pool of water—an ode to the art historical precedent of fountains as a social hub and life source for city dwellers. While the initial installation in Münster included figures made of both plaster and bronze—a sketch for what would become the final work—the figures in Fountain will all be made of bronze.

“Nicole Eisenman is one of the preeminent contemporary artists working today, and we are thrilled to bring her work to such a prominent location in The Fenway and in Boston,” adds Joel Sklar, president and principal of Samuels & Associates. “Fountain reinforces the art historical significance of the neighborhood on the international stage, and we are eager for the Boston community and our many visitors to engage with the wonderful figures brought to life in this work.”

Home to several of the city’s most noteworthy cultural institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the greater Fenway neighborhood will be further grounded as a notable cultural destination with the addition of Eisenman’s Fountain. Motivated by a deep commitment to creative placemaking and public art, Samuels & Associates—who have been developing 401 Park—sought to bring a major work of contemporary art to The Fenway. Fountain will serve as a gathering place and focal point for the new 1.1­ acre public park, complementing the spirit of this historical building. With the expertise and guidance of Abigail Goodman, Maria Taft, and Molly Epstein of curatorial and advisory firm Goodman Taft, and in close collaboration with the artist, Samuels & Associates acquired Fountain for permanent display in the green space adjacent to 401 Park.

“I’m happy to know the fountain will be situated in a place where people are likely to hang out and enjoy some leisure time,” says Eisenman. “I look forward to seeing kids climbing on the sculptures and this piece integrating into the fabric of life in the Fens.”

Photography by Henning Rogge.

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