14
14
Manolo Valdés
BUTTERFLIES
14
Manolo Valdés
BUTTERFLIES

Details & Cataloguing

Beyond Limits, Sotheby's at Chatsworth

London

Manolo Valdés
B. 1942
BUTTERFLIES
aluminium
460 by 950 by 500 cm., 181 by 374 by 197in.

Conceived and executed in 2010, this work is unique.


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Catalogue Note

Much of Manolo Valdés' œuvre is concerned with the legacy of the great classical masters – notably Goya, El Greco, Zurbarán, Ribera and, above all, Velázquez. Taking images from iconic works and transposing them into his own through endless permutations of colour, scale and medium, he creates what he has called 'the product of relived experiences' – a commentary on artistic tradition. Valdés takes inspiration not just from the Old Masters, but from modern artists, too. The elaborate headpieces which epitomise his sculpted female heads recall the early portraits of Matisse and Van Dongen, further establishing the link with tradition.

The present work, Butterflies, is partly inspired by a Matisse painting; the elegant countenance, distinguished only by the brow and line of the nose, bears the influence of the Fauve's early portraits such as Woman with a Hat (1905, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). But this work was also the fruit of happenstance, as Valdés has explained: 'one day, while strolling in Central Park, I saw a group of butterflies that had landed on top of a sculpture and the idea of the headpiece was born.' The beguiling headdress imbues the sculpture with a sense of movement and weightlessness, its solid forms dissipating into the surrounding space. At once monumental and accessible, patent yet enigmatic, Butterflies, cast in shimmering aluminium, is characterised by a unique approach to volume and materiality that has become the defining quality of Valdés' large-scale sculptures and accounts entirely for their powerful, mesmerising presence.

Beyond Limits, Sotheby's at Chatsworth

London