Enduring Ornament

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, 1913
Enduring Ornament, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Enduring Ornament, zoomed in
11.5 cmEnduring Ornament scale comparison8.9 cm

Enduring Ornament is a Dadaist Steel Sculpture created by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven in 1913. It lives in a private collection. The image is used according to Educational Fair Use, and tagged Readymade and Sculpture. See Enduring Ornament in the Kaleidoscope

The year is 1913 and Elsa Endell, kaleidoscopic performance artist and poet is on her way to New York’s city hall for her third marriage, this time to a German Baron named Leopold von Freytag-Loringhoven. En route, Elsa spots a rusted iron ring. To Elsa this street trash was a totem of her marriage to be, and in an act marking a new era in the definition of art—Elsa called this found object an artwork.

To state that artwork didn't need to be created with your hands, but that found objects could be claimed as art through the force of the artist’s intent was a shockingly radical concept. And as so often happens with new ideas, the newly minted Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was not credited with the shattering of artistic tradition. A year later, Elsa’s close friend Marcel Duchamp showcased Bottle Rack, a found object he claimed as a new category of art, the ‘readymade.'

Reed Enger, "Enduring Ornament," in Obelisk Art History, Published August 03, 2017; last modified October 14, 2022, http://www.arthistoryproject.com/artists/elsa-von-freytag-loringhoven/enduring-ornament/.

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