Lot 7
  • 7

Lawrence Holofcener

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  • Lawrence Holofcener
  • Allies
  • inscribed L Holofcener
  • bronze
  • 123 by 183 by 93cm., 48⅜ by 72 by 36½in.


The Catto Gallery, London
Acquired from the above in 2007 by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Lawrence Holofcener's expertise in areas across the Arts has made him a character of extraordinary colour, experience and popularity. Adding to his profession of ‘sculptor’, he has enjoyed success in his careers as a director, playwright, novelist and poet. In 1964 he sang and acted in the musical Hello Dolly! opposite American sweethearts Carol Channing and Ginger Rogers.

In 1979, in Charleston, South Carolina, Holofcener held his first sculpture exhibition. The exhibition was followed by an influx of awards, commissions and bookings for further shows. In 1995, Princess Margaret unveiled his portraits of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt on Bond Street, known as Allies. The work was a gift from the Bond Street Association - a coalition of the shops and businesses on Bond Street - to commemorate fifty years of peace since the end of the Second World War. 

It is more than the artist’s fortuitously symbolic dual British and American citizenship that makes Allies so pertinent. Holofcener has imbued his work with a striking intimacy: the President and the Prime Minister sit and talk amiably with each other, their body language speaking of their ease with one another. Their relationship is presented as one not of politics, but of comradery with the spotted ties and iconic cigar adding humorous and warm detail. The work is a tribute to one of the most important friendships of the twentieth century.

The artist himself was stunned with the success of the model. When the Catto Gallery commissioned Holofcener to create an edition of forty maquettes of the work, a quarter the size of the present model, Holofcener questioned how they could even expect to sell two or three. The artist spoke of how he used the Bond Street model to fashion his maquettes: ‘Julia and I drove to Bond Street from our Isle of White home, plus table, chair, tools, clay and the little bench. We set it all before the life-size sculpture and I got to work. “Are you an art student? (Do I look like a student?) Have you the artist’s permission? (The artist is dead) How about the City of Westminster? (I’ll be gone before they catch me)” After four to five days of work and chatter, I was finished, and to date almost forty have been sold. So much for my two or three!’ (In conversation with the artist, 2013)