epoxy composite, 196cm, 2009 Gene Holt

In this homage to Isadora Duncan, Gene Holt interprets Isadora’s fluid movement in her draperied and complex dance. The sculpture electrifies its surroundings, seemingly leaping from its base, inviting its audience to feel her movement. With the subtle curvature of shape, surface and line, he has captured the essence of Isadora’s flowing tunic, the wave of her arm and the pure emotion and grace of her dance. Like Isadora's dance, this piece belies its background of technique and skill to produce beauty through feeling.


Isadora Duncan is revered as the mother of Modern Dance. She shunned the formality of conventional ballet and stressed improvisation, emotion, and the human form, often dancing barefoot and in simple Greek apparel. She believed in blending together poetry, music and the rhythms of nature. Although never very popular in the United States, she was highly renowned throughout Europe.

Isadora Duncan was the most famous dancer of her time, so adored that she inspired artists and authors. When the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées was built in 1913, her face was carved in the bas-relief by sculptor Antoine Bourdelle and painted in murals by Maurice Denis. She was repeatedly sketched by Rodin, and photographed by Muybridge and Edward Steichen.

Born in 1878 in San Francisco, Isadora died in 1927 in Nice, when her long red scarf became entangled in the spokes of an Amilcar sports car on the Promenade des Anglais, breaking her neck. This freak accident ironically mirrored the death of her two children. Deirdre and Patrick were in a car with their nanny and chauffeur when the engine stalled. The chauffeur got out to crank the engine and the car rolled down hill into the Seine, drowning her children and their governess.