Details & Cataloguing

Art Contemporain - Evening Sale


1921 - 1998
signed, numbered 2/8 and stamped with the foundry mark Bocquel
103 x 48,5 x 110 cm ; 40 1/2 x 19 x 43 5/16 in.
Conceived in 1983-1985, this work is number 2 from an edition of 8.
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This work is registered in the archives of Denyse Durand-Ruel under number 3243. 


Private Collection, Paris
Artcurial, Paris, Post-War & Contemporain 1, 3 June 2014, lot 67
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner


Sète, Musée Paul Valéry, César, Les Bronzes, July - August 1991 (autre example)


P. Restany, César, 1988, p. 298, illustrated in colour (other example)
J-C. Hachet, César ou les métamorphoses d'un grand art, Paris, 1989, p. 80, illustrated in colour (other example)
Connaissance des Arts, César, Numéro Hors-Série à l'occasion de la rétrospective de l'artiste à la Vieille Charité, Marseille, July 1993, p. 38, illustrated in colour (other example)
Galerie Enrico Navarra, César, Paris, 1996, p. 68, illustrated in colour (other example)

Catalogue Note

In 1976 when the curator of the Musée Picasso called upon contemporary artists to celebrate the painter who had passed away three years earlier, César immediately thought of a centaur, the inverted double of the Minotaur that inhabited the work of the Catalan artist.

A hybrid mythological creature, half-man, half-animal, the centaur embodies wild strength, speed, the spirit of conquest. Built of an assemblage of metallic plates, elegant molds and everyday objects realized in bronze, César's version is both powerful and excessively delicate. The artist took particular care over the details of the hands and feet in a way that is reminiscent of classical equestrian sculpture. The face is also intriguing and resembles the artist in its rifts and angles. A mask representing Picasso's face covers it, heightening the impression that this self-portrait is much more obsequious than it seems.

A major piece in César's career that many consider to be one of the masterpieces of the history of statuary, the Centaure is the perfect synthesis of classicism and modernism. Composed of clear cut contours and broken angles, the work breaks with abstraction and employs the most contemporary of materials and techniques. the Centaure is thus a complex work of many meanings and which embodies the singularity of César's artistic approach.  Its eloquence is intensified by its large size that pulls the spectator into an encounter or even a confrontation.

Art Contemporain - Evening Sale