Early Sculpture, 1958-1960
A chance encounter with the famous Canadian businessman and collector Sam J. Zacks changed the course of etrog’s life and propelled his career. Zacks not only bought one of Etrog’s painted constructions during this first encounter, but also invited the young artist to spend the summer of 1959 at his wood workshop in Southampton, Ontario, thus providing Etrog both with unlimited access to materials and professional equipment and the piece of mind to create.
Etrog emerged from these summer months a fully developed sculptor. His first objects from 1958-9 were made of wood but he also began sculpting in terracotta and plaster. The introduction to African, pre- Colombian, and oceanic artifacts - which he saw first in the collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Zacks’ own collection – brought about a powerful formal language and a new style that moved away from the strict abstraction of his previous works. The exploration of the human figure through masses and volumes typified this short-lived body of work whose lessons that would be carried to his next artistic phase.
Barbarian Head, 1959