Lot 13
  • 13

Jesús Rafael Soto (1923-2005)

500,000 - 700,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Escritura Anne
  • signed and dated 1966 on the reverse
  • painted wood, metal and nylon string
  • 29 1/8 by 55 1/4 by 6 1/4 in.
  • 74 by 140.3 by 16 cm


Acquired from the artist 1973


Marseille, Musée Cantini, February-March 1977; Grenoble, Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, April-May 1977; Saint Étienne, Musée d’Art et d’Industrie, June-August,1977; Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, September-November, 1977, L'Avant-garde 1960-1976
Paris, Grand Palais,  L’Art moderne dans les musées de province, February 3-April 24, 1978, illustrated
Paris, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume; January 7-March 9, 1997, Reutlingen, Stiftung für Konkrete Kunst, April 20-September 28, 1997; São Paulo, Museu de Arte Contempôranea da Universidade, November 26, 1997-January 21, 1998; Salvador do Bahia, Museu de Arte Moderna, March 1998; Montevideo, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, May 1998; Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, June 1998; Curitiba, Casa Andrade Muricy, September 25-December 6, 1998; Jesús Rafael Soto, pp. 106-7, illustrated in color


Ricardo Pau-Llosa, “Jesús Rafael Soto: Feeling the Infinite”, Sculpture Magazine, No. 6, Vol. 16, July-August 1997, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Soto Magie, a catchy phrase used by the French press to describe the visual effects of Jesus Rafael Soto’s works referred to magician’s tricks to make things disappear. However, Soto was not particularly interested in magic. His closest sources of inspiration were instead the works of his contemporaries, the New York moving paintings by Piet Mondrian, music and physics.

Le Mouvement, the now legendary 1955 exhibition at Denise René Gallery with Vasarely, Tinguely, Agam and others was his first group exhibition with other artists equally interested in de-stabilizing the static work of art by turning it into an ever changing rhythmic visual continuum.

In Mondrian’s short and revolutionary Boogie Woogie series, it was music and the movement of the New York City streets that inspired a rhythm which ultimately animated his paintings. Soto, a fine guitar player himself, was equally interested in the essential nature of music. One of his principal lifelong interests was to bridge music and the visual arts at the most fundamental level: abstract art should in essence exhibit a dynamic musical quality.

Soto’s other early passion was physics. He was particularly interested in Einstein’s theory of equivalence between mass and energy and with quantum physics: "one concern that has haunted me throughout my artistic exploration is how to bring matter back to its essential value, i.e. energy: or in more concrete terms, how to transform material elements in my work into a chance state or vibration".  Fascinated by the ever surprising and mysterious behavior of nature’s elemental components, Soto thought about intuitive visual solutions to make these phenomena visible: as the spectator moves in front of his work, an agitated visual field becomes the place for marvelous and surprising transformations.

In the early 1960s, Soto started a new line of visual research called Vibraciones by hanging thin, light and moving painted wires in front of his trademark black and white stripped background. Part of this series, the Escrituras or “hand writings” referred to the shapes of letters in space. These abstract compositions are perhaps the most lyrical and suggestive works ever made by the artist.

Escritura Anne, 1966, is one of very few and rare examples of the early series of Escrituras; it is a large piece that exhibits the finest wires and the maximum visual effect, the ultimate Soto Magie.