William Zorach – Mother and Child

William Zorach

(American, b. Lithuania, 1887-1966)

Mother and Child

ca. 1921-1930
65 x 28 5/16 x 23 1/6 in.
Chazen Museum of Art;
Class of 1927 Gift Fund Purchase, 1977.112

Mother and Child by William Zorach was originally carved into a three-ton block of marble and subsequently cast into bronze. It is indicative of other sculptures by Zorach: tight, dense, and monumental. Zorach depicts a mother lovingly embracing her child. Her gaze is alert. She vigilantly stares past the child as she holds him with both hands. Their bodies recede into each other—two becoming one. The subject matter of parents with children reappears in Zorach’s later paintings and sculpture.

In a quest to feature sculpture outside the relatively new Elvehjem Art Center opened in 1970, now the Chazen Museum of Art, the museum purchased Mother and Child in 1977. Born in Lithuania, William Zorach immigrated to the United States as a young boy, first settling in Cleveland. Notably, Zorach was included in the 1913 Armory Show, an important early exhibition of avant-garde art in New York City. Although his earlier works are primarily paintings and watercolors, he later devoted himself to sculpture. His artwork is included in museum collections across the country.


Mother and Child is located outside in a courtyard next to the north entrance to the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building.


Baur, John I.E. William Zorach. New York: Whitney Museum of Art, 1959

Elvehjem Museum of Art. Handbook of the Collection. Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin- Madison. Madison, 1990