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Details & Cataloguing

Art Contemporain – Evening Sale

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Paris

Germaine Richier
1902 - 1959
LA TAUROMACHIE
inscribed with the artist's signature, numbered 0/6 and stamped with the foundry mark Susse Paris
bronze
116 x 54 x 101 cm; 45 5/8 x 21 1/4 x 38 3/4 in.
Conceived in 1953, this work is number 0 from an edition of 7 plus 3 hors commerce and 1 artist's proof. 
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Provenance

The artist
Jan Krugier Collection, Geneva
Sale: Christie's, New York, A Dialogue through art: works from the Jan Krugier Collection, Evening Sale, 4 November 2013, lot 54
Private Collection

Exhibited

Paris, Palais de New York, IXe Salon de mai, May 1953 ; catalogue no. 22
São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, 2nd Bienal de São Paulo, June - July 1953 ; catalogue,  no. 4, illustrated  (other edition)
Basel, Kunsthalle, Germain Richier, Bissière, H. R. Schiess, Vieira da Silva, Raoul Ubac, June - July 1954 ; catalogue, no. 17
Biel/Bienne, Collège des Prés Ritter, Exposition suisse de sculpture en plein air, September - October 1954 ; catalogue, no. 169
Venice, XXVII Biennale internazionale d'arte, June - October 1954 ; catalogue, no. 149
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Vieira da Silva, Germaine Richier, February - March 1955; catalogue, no. 34, illustrated (other edition)
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, The Minneapolis institute of Arts; Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum; San Francis, San Francisco Museum of Art, The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors, May 1955 - March 1956; catalogue, p. 38, illustrated (other edition)
Lille, Galerie Marcel Evrard, Germaine Richier, Roger Vieillard, 1955 ; catalogue, no. 4
Paris, Galerie Berggruen, Germaine Richier, June - July 1956
Paris, Musée national d'Art moderne, Germaine Richier, October - December 1956 ; catalogue, n.p., no. 40, illustrated (other edition)
New York, Martha Jackson Gallery, The Sculptures of Germaine Richier, November -
December 1957; catalogue, n.p., no. 10, illustrated (other edition)
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Sculpture by Germaine Richier, September - November 1958; catalogue, n.p., no. 12
Boston, University School of Fine and Applied Arts, Sculpture by Germaine Richier, January - February 1959; catalogue, n.p., no. 1
Paris, Galerie Henri Creuzevault, Germaine Richier, May 1959
Antibes, Musée Picasso, Germaine Richier, July - September 1959; catalogue, n.p, no. 107
Marseille, Musée Cantini, Sculpture contemporaine, March - April 1960; catalogue, n.p., no. 18
Venice, Palazzo Grassi Centro Internazionale della Arti e del Costume; Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Dalla natura all'arte, 1960 - 1961; catalogue, n.p., no. 1, illustrated (other edition)
Antwerp, Middelheimpark, VII Bienale voor Beeldhoouwkunst, June – September 1963; catalogue, no. 132
Zürich, Kunsthaus Zürich, Germaine Richier, June - July 1963; catalogue, no. 53, pl. XIV
Brussels, Les musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, La part du rêve, April - July 1964 ; catalogue, no. 69, pl. XIII
Arles, Musée Réattu, Germaine Richier, July - September 1964; catalogue, no. 31, illustrated (other edition)
London, Hanover Gallery, Contrast, July - August 1967; catalogue no. 56.
Paris, Musée Rodin, Troisième Biennale internationale de sculpture contemporaine, Formes humaines, May - June 1968; catalogue, no. 6
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Works from the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, 1969 ; catalogue, pp. 136-137, illustrated (other edition)
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Art du XXe siècle, November 1974 - March 1975 ; catalogue, no. 163,  illustrated
Brussels, Les musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, La femme dans l'art, April - July 1975 ; catalogue, no. 73, illustrated (other edition)
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Art du XXe siècle, 1977
Paris, Théâtre du Rond-Point, Sous le signe du taureau, December 1986 – January 1987 ; catalogue, illustrated
Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Années 50, June - October 1988, ; catalogue, pp. 234-239, illustrated
Humlebæck, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Germaine Richier, August - September 1988, p. 33, no. 19, illustrated
Barcelona, Centre Cultural Sala Catalunya Sala Sant Jaume ; Vienna, Künstlerhaus Wein, Europa de postguerra, 1945-1965 : Arte después del diluvio, May - December 1995; catalogue, no. 76, illustrated (other edition)
Saint-Paul, Fondation Maeght, Germaine Richier: Rétrospective, April - June 1996 ; cataogue, pp. 122-123, no. 60, illustrated in colour
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz Linie, Licht und Schatten, Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, May - August 1999 ; catalogue, pp. 293, 392, no. 188 illustrated in colour
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin tiempo: Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, February - May 2000 ; catalogue, pp. 474-475, no. 220, illustrated in colour
Paris, Musée Maillol, Le feu sous les cendres: de Picasso à Basquiat, October 2005 -February 2006 ; catalogue, pp. 79, 154, illustrated in colour
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das ewige Auge: Von Rembrandt bis Picasso, Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, July - October 2007 ; catalogue, pp. 468-469, no. 226, illustrated in colour
New York, Dominique Lévy Gallery, Germaine Richier, February - April, 2014 ; catalogue, pp. 9, 80 - 83, 147, illustrated in colour

Literature

George Waldemar, "Les idoles de Germaine Richier," Art et Industrie, Nancy, 1954, no. 29
Pierre Francastel, "La nouvelle sculpture: Richier Germaine," Les Sculpteurs celèbres Paris, 1954, pp. 316-320, 399
Jean Grenier, "Germaine Richier: Sculpteur du terrible," L'OEil, Paris, September 1955, 26-31, no. 9
Exh. Cat., London, Hanover Gallery, Germaine Richier, 1955
Exh. Cat., New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Richier, The New Decade, 1955
George Waldemar, "Germaine Richier," Prisme des arts, Paris, April 1956, no. 2
Denys Chevalier, "Un grand sculpteur: Germaine Richier," Prestige francais et Mondanités, Paris, September 1956, pp. 60-65, no. 19
André Chastel, "Au musée d'Art moderne 'Germaine Richier: la puissance et le malaise'," Le Monde, Paris, October 1956
Denys Chevalier, "Sculpture encore: 'Dans son atelier, vaste forêt de plâtres et de bronzes, Germaine Richier, chef d'école, sculpte les grands mythes sylvestres'," Femme, Paris, October - November 1956, pp. 81-83
Chatard, "Sculpture: Germaine Richier," Nouvelle Gauche, Paris, November -December 1956
Pierre Schneider, "Art News from Paris," Arts News, New York, December 1956, p.48, no. 55
Michel Conil-Lacoste, "Chroniques: Germaine Richier ou la confusion de règnes,"Cahier du Sud, Marseille, February 1957, pp. 307-311
Paul Guth, Neil Chapman, "Encounter with Germaine Richier," Yale French Studies, 1957, pp. 78-84, no. 19/20
Yvon Taillandier, "Germaine Richier," Connaissance des arts, Paris, July 1958, pp. 24-29, no. 77
René Barotte, "Le journal des arts 'Germaine Richier...a mêlé la réalité à l'imaginaire'", Paris-Presse-L'Intransigeant, Paris, August 1959, p. 6E
Ramond Charmet, "Germaine Richier: une oeuvre d'une humanité déchirée," Arts, Paris, August 1959, no. 5-11
Claude Roger-Marx, "Cette héritière inspireée des grands maîtres: Germaine Richier,"Le Figaro littéraire, Paris, August 1959, p. 7
Couturier, "Tribune de Paris - Adieu à Germaine Richier: la force de son oeuvre," Tribune de Lausanne, Lausanne, August 1959, p. 7
Alberto Giacometti, "Tribune de Paris - Adieu à Germaine Richier: Assis parmi ses sculptures," Tribune de Lausanne, Lausanne, August 1959, p. 7
Vieira da Silva, "Tribune de Paris - Adieu à Germaine Richier: Son atelier était plein d'une étrange musique," Tribune de Lausanne, Lausanne, August 1959, p. 7
André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Germaine Richier, Woluwe-Saint Lambert, 1959, pp. 3-8
Michel Seuphor, "XV La Sculpture figurative," La sculpture de ce siècle: Dictionnaire de la sculpture moderne, Neuchâtel, 1959, pp. 109-118
Franz Hellens, "Les Beaux-Arts à Paris: La première exposition posthume de Germaine Richier," Les Beaux-Arts, Brussels, April 1960, no. 894, p. 12
Jean Cassou, Germaine Richier, New York, 1961
Hugo Debrunner, "Die Plastikerin Germaine Richier: Große Retrospektive im Kunsthaus Zürich," Zürcher Spiegel, Zürich, June 1963
H. Cingria, "Itinéraire provençal: Arles," Lettres françaises, Paris, June – August 1964
Enrico Crispolti, "Germaine Richier," I maestro della scultura, Milan, 1968, pp. 50-52, no. 65
Michel Conil-Lacoste, "Richier," Nouveau dictionnaire de la sculpture moderne, Paris, 1970, pp. 262-264
René Barotte, "À la rencontre de Germaine Richier (1904-1959), Le sculpteur qui va...au-delà de," Vision sur les arts, Béziers, November 1978
Catherine Millet, "Germaine Richier, la gran époc de la escultura," Guadalimar, Madrid, December 1978, no. 37
Brassaï, "Germaine Richier," Les Artistes de ma vie, Paris, 1982, pp. 194-197
Ionel Jianou, Gérard Xurigura, Aube Lardera, "Germaine Richier," La Sculpture moderne, Paris, 1982, p. 178
Angelica Zander Rudenstine, "Germaine Richier," Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice, New York, 1985, pp. 684-688
G. Jespersen, "Kunst: Fantasterne," Politiken, Copenhagen, August 1988
Gilles Neret, "Qu'est-ce que la sculpture moderne?," 30 ans d'art moderne, peintres et sculpteurs, Paris, 1988, pp. 114-134
Christa Lichtenstein, "Den Kompaß im Auge, da Lot in den Fingerspitzen: Die Bildhauerin Germaine Richier," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt, November 1989, no. 274
Elisabeth Lebovici, "Lieux: L'atelier de Germaine Richier vu par Pierre-Olivier Deschamps," Beaux-Arts Magazine, Paris, November 1989, pp. 94-99, no. 73

Catalogue Note

La Tauromachie (Bullfighting) is no doubt Germain Richier's masterpiece, a veritable" titan of  sculpture" as Alain Jouffroy described it in a founding text published on the occasion of a retrospective of the artist's work in 1992. In this same text, the art critic compared La Tauromachie to another masterpiece: the statue of King Hor at the museum of Cairo. For Jouffroy, only the old masters of Greek statuary can rival Richier's work. No other 20th century sculptor apart from her had been able to depict all "the criminal violence of the century of Hiroshima and the concentration camps." No-one, not even Alberto Giacometti, a former pupil of Bourdelle like Richier and who had also succeeded in "rejoining the truth of antiquity through a field of rubble", does not achieve the sovereign power and authority of this Tauromachie.

In Germaine Richier's career the pre-war and the post-war works are different both in form and in emotional impact. The artist imposed her unique artistic language early on, creating works evoking the human, vegetal and animal reign, between dream and reality. But it was only after the Second World War that the artist let her extraordinary imagination run wild, going beyond her academic training in classical sculpture to embrace a unique aesthetic of fantasy. La Tauromachie is emblematic of this development and transposes Richier's sculptural genius and her tragic vision of a disintegrating society. A tribute to the survival of humanity after a murderous war, the work represents a fantastic creature from a timeless era that is also an echo of our times.  Here, Richier reveals just how much her art is drawn from a secret and inner life.

Cast in eleven copies many of which are today kept in the greatest museums in the world such as the Musée Royal d'Art Moderne in Brusssels, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, the present rare cast of La Tauromachie differs from most of the others in its particular treatment of the gold bronze patina.  The gold here refers once again to antique tradition and in particular that of the millenary culture of Mediterranean countries, but also to the mantle of light and the wild bull races without killing known as free races from the artist's childhood spent in the Languedoc and Provence regions.

La Tauromachie can also be linked with Surrealism. The figure's strangely long front leg is suggestive of movement when the statue is otherwise particularly static, as if paralysed in a dream, and thus recalls Kertész's photographic deformations.  Just as the chiselled moon crescent at the top of this biomorphic silhouette recalls the vocabulary of Picasso's surrealist paintings. In the manner of the Catalan master's works depicting tormented, hybrid creatures, this Tauromachie is the fervent expression of the metamorphosis myth. Its irregular and intense texture condenses the artist's search for "the aesthetic of cosmic fury". Here Germaine Richier's knowledge and lucid intelligence serves her exuberant and poetic imagination. We can perfectly understand what she meant when she explained she was "more sensitive to a burnt tree than an apple tree in flower."

Art Contemporain – Evening Sale

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Paris