Naum Gabo and his brother, Antoine Pevsner, active supporters of the Russian Revolution, dreamed that through industrialization a new social order would emerge and that Russia would call upon its creative elite to guide it into the future. They drafted a document, the Realist Manifesto (1920), in which the principal tenets of constructivism were spelled out. As it happened, their future lay elsewhere. One brother emigrated to Paris, the other to England and ultimately the United States.
Consistent with a rejection of solid form that dates back to the Realist Manifesto, Gabo defines the boundaries of his skeletal construction with two intersecting bronze ribbons that seem to embrace the maximum amount of space with the minimum amount of mass. Initially the artist had planned to attach a motor to its base to make the sculpture rotate, which would have permitted viewing from all angles.
Artist Naum Gabo, American, 1890-1977
  • Linear Construction No. 4
Date 1962
Medium bronze, stainless steel
Dimensions Overall (on pedestal): 82 1/2 × 32 × 31 7/8 inches (209.6 × 81.3 × 81 cm)
Overall (pedestal): 37 3/8 × 32 × 31 7/8 inches (94.9 × 81.3 × 81 cm)
Including base (recessed into pedestal): 50 1/2 × 28 × 28 inches (128.3 × 71.1 × 71.1 cm)
Credit Line Gift of W. Hawkins Ferry
Accession Number 72.437
Department Contemporary Art after 1950
On View Modern N221, Level 2 (see map)
Miriam Gabo, wife of the artist.
1972-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Naum Gabo. Exh. cat., Stedelijk Museum. Amsterdam, 1965, no. 23.

Naum Gabo. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1966, p. 10, no. 28 (pl. 11).

Naum Gabo. Exh. cat., Albright-Knox Gallery. Buffalo, 1968, no. 17.

Arkus, L.A. "Expressing the Spirit of the Times: 1970 Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Opening October 30." Carnegie Magazine 44, 8 (1970): pp. 305-308 (ill.).

1970 Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Art. Exh. cat., Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art. Pittsburgh, 1970, p. 35, no. 66.

de la Motte, Mafred and D. Sterenberg. Naum Gabo. Hannover, 1971, p. 67 (ill.).

Bulletin of the DIA 52, 1 (1973): p. 37.

Art in Space: Some Turning Points. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1973 (fig. 12).

Hillberry, Susanne. "Naum Gabo: A Constructivist Sculptor." Bulletin of the DIA 54, 4 (1976): pp. 175-183 (ill.).

Sarff, Laura and Jan Harem. Symmography: Linear Thread Design. Worcester, MA, 1979, p. 72 (ill.).