Lot 31
  • 31

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, R.A.

70,000 - 100,000 GBP
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  • Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, R.A.
  • Forms on a Bow No. 2
  • bronze
  • length: 63cm.; 25in.
  • Conceived in 1949 and cast in 1960, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 6.
number 2 from edition of 6


Acquired directly from the Artist by the previous owner, 1961
Their sale, Christie's London, 30th May 1997, lot 89, where acquired by David Bowie


New York, Betty Parsons Gallery, Recent Sculpture, 23rd April - 12th May 1962, cat. no.2 (another cast in gunmetal);
Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Eduardo Paolozzi, 5th February - 6th April 1975, cat. no.4, illustrated p.61 (another cast).


Michael Middleton, Eduardo Paolozzi, Art in Progress, London, 1963, illustrated p.10 (another cast);
Diane Kirkpatrick, Eduardo Paolozzi, Studio Vista Limited, London, 1970, illustrated p.17, pl.7 (another cast);
Diane Kirkpatrick, Journal, Ottowa, 1976, illustrated fig.3 (another cast);
Frank Whitford, Eduardo Paolozzi: Sculpture, Drawings, Collages and Graphics (exh. cat.), Arts Council, 1976, illustrated p.10 (another cast);
Winfried Konnertz, Eduardo Paolozzi, Cologne, 1984, p.53, illustrated pl.95 (another cast).


The elements of the sculpture all appear sound. There is some cracking to the central form where it is joined to the horizontal element of the bow, and it is very slightly loose. There is also a casting imperfection apparent to the hanging element second from left, beneath the lowest protrusion. There is some rubbing to some of the bronze in places, particularly to the curved edges of the bow. There is small nick apparent to the upper element of the base at the lower right on the reverse. There are some traces of minor oxidisation in places, and some light surface dirt and matter. There is some slight variation to the colour of the patina in places. Subject to the above, the work appears to be in very good overall condition.The sculpture has been attached to a bronze base with one central bolt.Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.
"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

Eduardo Paolozzi moved to Paris in the summer of 1947 in search of fresh inspiration, having recently finished studying at the Slade School of Fine Art. He discovered a city brimming with artistic activity, and the move heralded an exciting period of creativity for the young sculptor. He studied the important collections the city had to offer, including the Egyptian section at the Louvre, and the ethnographic collections the Musée de l’Homme and the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. He encountered Surrealist and Dada art and artists, and visited (with William Turnbull) Jean Dubuffet’s Foyer de l’Art Brut, which championed untrained and outsider art. He also met and engaged with many of his artistic contemporaries in the city, including Fernand Léger, Georges Braque, Brancusi and Jean Arp, to whom he was introduced by Peggy Guggenheim.

Perhaps the most influential figure of all was Alberto Giacometti, in whose studio he spent many hours. Of all the artists he encountered in Paris, Paolozzi recalled that Giacometti was the one that ‘I had most contact with, he was the one that I admired most…the one that was intellectually and physically the most approachable’ (the Artist, in interview with Richard Cork on BBC Radio 3, 1986, reproduced in Simon Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi Collaging Culture, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 2013, p.26). It was not only his artistic output which so impressed the young Paolozzi, but also his single-minded dedication to his art: ‘he was a real artist because he was obsessed about his ideas and worked all night, and everything else in life for him was just a grey shadow’ (ibid., p.26).

It was in this abundantly fertile atmosphere that Paolozzi created Forms on a Bow No.2. The work is an enigmatic one, the bow form half reminiscent of a crude weapon or spit, yet also suggestive perhaps of a stringed instrument, a harp-like structure hung with strange yet harmonious forms. These shapes are half-organic and half-mechanical, curved and amorphous in places yet littered with protruding elements which suggest both cogs and teeth. It bears a likeness to Giacometti’s pre-war work, most specifically Composition (Man and Woman) of 1928 (Tate, London). The work is an evocative expression of Paolozzi’s time in Paris, an amalgam evocative of the ‘other’-ness of art brut, surrealism and primitive sculpture, fused into a work all Paolozzi’s own.