One only has to look as far as David Smith’s remarkable Sacrifice to understand the ambitious scope on offer here. Created in 1950, this early work is an incipient piece within the artist’s oeuvre, employing painterly elements and surrealist associations to create wild, lyrical expressions in three-dimensional space. Smith drew as much from his experience as a painter and draftsman as he did from modern materials and industrial techniques, so it is no surprise that when observing the individual totemic structures we are reminded equally of Picasso’s eminent Bulls, Salvador Dali’s melting motifs or spindly figures and Joan Miro’s unrestrained arrangements, as we are of the sculptures of Richard Stankiewicz, Alberto Giacometti, Germaine Richier and Julio Gonzales that form such an integral role in this collection.
In a similar manor, the dispositional mutability of Germaine Richier’s oeuvre chimes with the kinesis of Jean Tinguely’s Spring from 1963 and acts as a metaphor for elements of cause, effect and transformation that pervade this collection. Richier’s L’Homme Forêt from 1945 is exemplary of the artist’s early interest in the plasticity of representation and her willingness to consolidate stasis and motion within a single structure – an investigation that develops through works such as Petit Don Quichotte and Guerrier (Petit Sculpture) that employ an anamorphic aesthetic to express freedom and the vitality of nature.
Tinguely’s automated staging of motion however also resonates with the roughly welded panels of Stankiewicz’s Untitled work from 1964 or even Julio González’s impeccable Le Rêve that appears almost mechanical in its combination of hard lines and cog-like ovals. González here deftly unites brutality and fluidity to form a wholly autonomous work that bursts forth from its base and demands to be acknowledged. Giacometti likewise presents us with a powerfully industrial structure in his tantalizingly early Composition that unabashedly imposes itself within its ambient space, thus acting as a cantilever to his later figurative works that employ empty space as a device that imposes on form. One might also find the materialization of dreams in the slender relaxation of Alexander Archipenko’s Torso in Space or even under a different guise in the voluptuous Nudes of Gaston Lachaise.
This truly remarkable collection offers us a ceaseless array of surprises. It makes apparent links between artistic movements where some might easily have found contradictions and so too does it present us with rare, early works that demonstrate the burgeoning creativity and intellectual rigor of the individual artists. This is an assemblage of significant pieces which defy conventional categorization; instead each work is allowed to form an open dialogue about artistic influence that may more truly reflect the nature of creativity. It is with great honor then that Sotheby’s will be offering works from this distinguished Midwest Collection across Impressionist and Modern Art, Contemporary Art, American Art, Latin American, Swiss Art, Photography and Prints sales in both America and Europe throughout the 2015-16 auction seasons.
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