S otheby's presents several remarkable works of modern sculpture by visionary artists including Marino Marini, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and others in the upcoming Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale and Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale. Works from both sales are on view at Sotheby's New York headquarters beginning 1 November.
Cavallo (Horse), conceived in 1951
C onceived in 1951, Cavallo is a remarkable example of Marini's rendering of horses – a dominating theme and near-obsession throughout the artist's career. The extraordinary power and beauty of Cavallo lie in the careful rendering of its surface, showing the artist's almost painterly attention to finish. Marini drew his inspiration from antiquity, but not from the refinement of Hellenistic sculpture; rather, it is the rougher, more energetic expression of the Archaic period in Greece and Etruscan sculpture in Italy that underlies Marini's artistic style.
Buste d'homme (Diego au blouson), conceived circa 1953
G iacometti’s extraordinary Buste d'homme (Diego au blouson) is a robust personification of the Existentialist movement during the heated years of the Cold War. Of all his representations of the human figure, this sculpture is without question Giacometti's most formally radical, visually engaging and emotionally impactful. The imposing figure, modeled after Giacometti's younger brother Diego, parts his lips although about to speak – a subtle movement that perfectly embodies the anticipation of a moment about to be realized.
Dr. Fraenkel, conceived in 1956
A practicing physician, Dr. Théodore Fraenkel was closely involved with members of the Dada and Surrealist movements active during the 1920s in Paris; he befriended André Breton when the pair were in high school, a connection that eventually led him to Giacometti. For over thirty years, Dr. Fraenkel remained Giacometti's close friend, trusted physician and willing model.
A superior example of the sculptural busts that are so emblematic of Giacometti’s oeuvre, Dr. Fraenkel is distinguished by the artist’s haunting rendering of a subject so cherished by the artist, as well as by the intimate and complex relationship the two individuals shared.
Buste d'homme assis (Lotar III), conceived in 1965-66
T he last sculpture created by Giacometti, Buste d'homme assis (Lotar III) is a highly important work depicting one of Giacometti's favorite models, Lotar. The original clay, the plaster and the first bronze cast of this work are held in the collection of the Fondation Giacometti while further casts are found in the Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, the Museo Ciäsa Granda, Stampa, Switzerland and the Fondation Beyeler, Basel. The present example has remained in the same private collection since 1982.
Tête de femme, conceived in 1906-07
T his extraordinarily compact, block-like sculpture was conceived in Paris in the winter of 1906-07 and is one of Picasso’s most important early bronzes. The group of works made between the autumn of 1906 and 1909 posed new questions hitherto unknown in European sculpture, putting them on a par with Picasso’s work as a painter and draftsman. Reduced to the essentials, the schematic treatment of the almond-shaped eyes, the smooth surface and the symmetrical features of this piece create the impression of perfect serenity.
Femme debout, conceived in 1930
I n 1930, Picasso created a series of slender statuettes carved out of wood, with more compressed forms than any he had ever attempted. Whittled out of fragments of stretchers in his studio in Boisgeloup, these elongated figures have proportions that give the impressions of giantesses. This extraordinary and limited group of figurines was produced in a short burst of creativity before Picasso moved on to very different forms of expression with his bulbous bust sculptures of Marie-Thérèse the following year; the present Femme debout is an exceptional example from this group.
Arlequin à la clarinette, conceived in 1919
C onceived ten years after Lipchitz’s arrival in Paris, Arlequin à la clarinette exemplifies his exploration of Cubism in a three-dimensional medium and the singular success the artist had in synthesizing the revolutionary artistic movement in sculptural form. Lipchitz's faceting of the planar elements in Arlequin à la clarinette is both highly technical and aesthetically nuanced – yet the fragmented forms also build up the structure of the figure in a manner that is unambiguous, with the intricate staging of positive and negative shapes allowing for a remarkable play of light.
Family Group, conceived in 1945
T he theme of mother and child was one of two central motifs that obsessed Moore for the duration of his life – a theme that assumed particular poignancy in the wake of World War II, when Moore's family groups became symbols of the domesticity and familial bonds which were damaged by the war. The family group also held a particularly personal resonance as Moore and his wife Irina had their first and only child, Mary, a much longed-for addition to the family, in 1946 after many years of marriage. Conceived just one year before Mary’s birth, the present work evokes the convergence of these forces, both patriotic and personal.
Maquette for Seated Woman, conceived in 1956
T he human figure was Henry Moore’s abiding passion and the primary subject of his art. Maquette for Seated Woman, conceived in 1956, is a model of one of his most important works, belonging to a series of sculptures of women that Moore created in the 1950s that occupy a key position in his oeuvre.
High Wind III, conceived in 1990
T he concept of capturing motion fascinated Chadwick throughout his career. As the years progressed, his walking sculptures became more vigorous: the wing-like forms previously stationed at the figures’ sides became flowing sleeves, capes or full-length cloaks. The cloaks billowed behind the figures as they faced a strong headwind, enhancing the dynamism of their motion. In High Wind III, the artist heightens the tension and difficulty of movement by contrasting the amorphous billowing of the figure's hair with the linearity of her skirts and counterbalancing the soft outline of the figure’s limbs with the dramatic blowing of her adornments.