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Not on the neck, but in front of it. This is how the shepherd carries the sheep he is going to wash. It's not easy to see, because in Pearl Perlmuter's pedestal sculpture 'Sheep Man' from 2001, man and animal have almost become one.
The first cast of 'Schapeman' was made in 1967. During a holiday on Crete Perlmuter observed shepherds lifting their sheep by their forelegs for shearing and then lowering them into the water. For her, this was an almost ritual immersion that inspired her. Perlmuter created the sculpture 'Sheep Man' by interweaving her feelings and associations with the tableau of the shearers and their animals. The plastic forms flow into each other so strongly that it is difficult to unravel where the human begins and the animal ends. On his haunches the shepherd almost becomes a mythological figure, half animal half man.
After the war Perlmuter created a furore with very expressive sculptures. Together with her husband Wessel Couzijn (1912-1984), Lotti van der Gaag (1923-1999) and Willem Reijers (1910-1958) she belonged to the innovators of sculpture in the Netherlands. Perlmuter did what few dared to do. She surrendered to matter and experiment. Especially when around 1957 she stopped modelling in clay and plaster and started using wax, mass and volume made way for linear elements, and her bronzes became more abstract and free. However, it is not cheerful freedom that she portrays. Her art is a penetrating expression of anger about injustice in the world. Personal experiences and themes such as struggle and liberation run like a thread through Perlmut's oeuvre. She has made fewer sculptures since the late 1970s, but Perlmuter has remained combative and passionate about women in the visual arts.