Born New York City, 1924. Died New Brunswick, NJ, 2000
Abraham's Farewell to Ishmael, 1987
107 x 54 x 54 inches
Collection Miami Art Museum, gift of The George and Helen Segal Foundation, Inc.
Credit line: © Miami Art Museum
Photo credit: Allan Finkelman
An exploration of a theme from the Old Testament, Abraham's Farewell to Ishmael of 1987 is a major example of Segal's signature life-size plaster cast figurative tableaux.
In Abraham's Farewell to Ishmael, George Segal examines a dilemma faced by the Old Testament patriarch Abraham. In this biblical account, Abraham's wife, Sarah, seeks to secure her son Isaac's right of inheritance by demanding that her husband expel his mistress Hagar and Ishmael, his first-born son, from their home. Only upon receiving divine promise of Hagar and Ishamel's safety, does Abraham reluctantly banish them to the desert. The father's tenderness, Sarah's jealous rage, and Hagar's resigned acceptance portray a range of human emotions as powerful today as they were when the Old Testament was written thousands of years ago.
Whether they are depictions of man's everyday life, themes from the Old Testament, or major historical events, his works are profoundly expressive of the human condition, its solitude and fragility.