Lot 366
  • 366

Fernando Zobel

9,000 - 9,500 HKD
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  • Fernando Zobel
  • Sin Titulo (Untitled)
  • Signed, stamped with a seal of the artist, titled, inscribed, numbered 1/10  and dated 1957 Manila
  • Woodblock print on paper
  • 20 by 38 cm.; 7 3/4 by 15 in.


The work is in good condition overall, as is the paper, which is free from foxing and tears. There is light wear and handling around the edges of the painting, along with associated minor creases only visible upon close observation. Examination under ultraviolet light reveals no evidence of restoration. Framed, under Plexiglas.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Fernando Zobel – A Harmonious Play with Space

Fernando Zobel’s unique style is defined by his sophisticated thin lines and movement of colors. Exploring space in the most basic forms, the artist’s techniques were truly complex and captivating. Continuously exploring color, space and movement throughout his oeuvre, Zobel ultimately introduced a new mode of abstract shapes in the paintings. By integrating calligraphic lines into negative spaces, the artist embraced the existing matter, and yet dramatically altered the subject matter within a minimalist framework.

In Serie Negra (Lot 363) , Alcala (Lot 364), and Sin Titulo (Untitled) (Lot 366), traces of what may suggest Oriental influences in his paintings are visible to the audience. Lines have been applied intricately upon the canvas by a hypodermic syringe needle, rendering a performance of lyrical lines that are painstakingly traced, and highly spontaneous in their visual presentation. Such as La Hoz en Invierno (The Sickle in Winter) (Lot 362), and Cuena (Lot 365), show the quality of his somber tone and soft light. Zobel’s painterly gestures not only whisper the silence, but also capture the rhythm and space for an abstract-inspired structured landscape. Embracing the return of color in his paintings, the notion of Rothko’s ‘atmospheric color’ is applied, further intensifying the painting’s movement and mood.

With the transition from Serie Negra to Dialogos and El Jucar, the artist emphasized the difficulties Zobel had challenged himself with, for being “[limited] to black and white I tried to find a substitute for the vibrations formerly produced by contrasts of color. I managed this to a certain extent by using a dry brush to blur some of my lines; blurs and streaks that changed the linear nature of the Saetas and instead suggested direction, changes in tempo, effects of light, a sense of volume, etc. Inevitably, when a painting begins to suggest light and volume, and to the extent that it does, it stops being abstract. This is not always a voluntary proves nor a fully conscious one. At any rate, my paintings were beginning to turn into something else; something more suggestive and less abstract.”¹ 

Admired for the sophistication of his conceptual intuition, Fernando Zobel's works are reflective of this deep artistic sensitivity and awareness. His paintings ultimately convey an optimistic euphoria, and Lots 362 to 366 demonstrate these transitional stages within the artist’s career. With a more expressionist palette, the contrast between light and dark becomes heightened in its degree of abstraction. By incorporating the black and white color scheme, and varied pigments into his works, Zobel includes only the essential and memorable particularities of color and form. The progression of the artist’s series of works provides a backdrop that demonstrates how the artist has successfully rendered the paintings into individual masterpieces.

¹Rod. Paras-Perez, Fernando Zobel, Eugenio Lopez Foundation, Inc., Manila, 1990, p. 41