Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1913, Ibram Lassaw traveled and lived throughout Europe including North Africa, Tunis, Malta, Naples, Marseille, and Istanbul before settling in Brooklyn, all before he was 9 years old. His education in the arts included clay-modeling classes at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, modeling from life at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and a year of art courses at City College. He was involved with the Public Works of Art Program, and taught sculpture under the Federal Arts Project while maintaining a personal practice in his own studio. Abandoning figuration for good in 1933, Lassaw began began brazing with rods of various alloys, his first drip metal sculptures. In 1937, he organized the American Abstract Artists group.
Trained as a welder during the Second World War, Ibram Lassaw was a pioneer in abstract sculpture and particularly in the realm of Abstract Expressionism along with such artistic icons as De Kooning, Pollock, Krasner, Kline, Duchamp and Ernst. One of the founders and President of the American Abstract Artists in 1936 as well as a Charter Member of the Artists’ Club in 1949, Lassaw had numerous and varied influences - Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Mondrian, Matisse, Russian Constructivism, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Buckminster Fuller, and Taoist and Zen teachings.
In Capricorn, 1952, an early sculpture for the artist, forms are uncharacteristically figurative with implications of a group engaged in a dance or ceremony. The title has little to do with the Zodiac symbol aligning more with the idea of hybrid crossings, here one of abstraction and figuration.