Not long ago, saying “Medardo Rosso” (1858–1928) on this side of the Atlantic would usually provoke vague looks and noncommittal noises. Rosso is still not the most familiar name in the history of Modernism, yet today, at least in museum-going circles, there’s a good chance that he’ll be identified as a pioneering Italian Modernist sculptor. In part, this is because of the wide-ranging 2015 show of his work at New York’s Center for Italian Modern Art (cima) and this past spring’s exhibition of bronzes at Peter Freeman Gallery, Soho. Or we might hear “Wasn’t there something of his towards the end of ‘Unfinished’ at Met Breuer?” But artists almost always know who Rosso is and, for anyone engaged by the course of Modernism, he looms large. His sculptures, with their ambiguous images and richly inflected,...

 
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