Ursula von Rydingsvard’s sculpture on view at Harvard Business School

Ursula von Rydingsvard (American, born 1942), “Elegantka II,” 2013–14 / 2016, urethane resin, 126 x 46 x 46 inches.

Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York. © Ursula von Rydingsvard

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In celebration of Women’s History Month, Harvard Business School is delighted to announce the 2023-2025 exhibition supported by the C. Ludens Ringnes Sculpture Collection at Harvard Business School, which features a sculpture by artist Ursula von Rydingsvard, one of the few women working in monumental sculpture.

Ursula von Rydingsvard (née Karoliszyn) was born in 1942 in Deensen, Germany, the fifth of seven children, to a Polish mother and Ukrainian father who were brought there as forced labor during World War II. After the war, the family was moved through a series of refugee camps before emigrating to New York by ship in 1950 and settling in Plainville, Connecticut.

Best known for her tactile and large (often monumental) sculptures painstakingly cut, stacked, and assembled from cedar beams, von Rydingsvard studied sculpture at Columbia University, where she earned a master’s degree in studio art in 1975. “Elegantka II”  (2013–14/2016) is a urethane resin cast of one of her cedar works, whose parts were laboriously carved with a circular saw and then stacked. Composed using vertical cuts that she has described as “feathers of a wet bird,” these resin forms explore the possibilities of light and play with the “lost-wax” process, with the cedar providing the form for the resin cast. The resultant shimmering, crystalline spiral is then electrified and illuminated from within, emanating a subtle glow at evening.