Lot 42
  • 42

Arnaldo Pomodoro

350,000 - 450,000 GBP
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  • Arnaldo Pomodoro
  • Sfera N. 3
  • signed and dated 1964 on the underside
  • bronze
  • diameter: 60 cm. 23 5/8 in.
  • Executed in 1964, this work is an artist's proof from an edition of 2 plus 2 artist’s proofs and 1 artist’s proof with variation.


Marlborough Gallery, New York

Marion Davidson Collection, New York

Private Collection, Rome

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012


Venice, Giardini di Castello, Sala Personale, XXXII Biennale Internazionale d’Arte di Venezia, 1964 (edition no. unknown)

La Chaux-de-Fonds, Musée des Beaux-Arts La Chaux-de-Fonds, Arnaldo Pomodoro, April – May 1965, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown)

New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Works from the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation,  January – March 1969, p. 173, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Art du XXe siècle: Fondation Peggy Guggenheim Venise, November 1974 – March 1975 (edition no. unknown)

Trieste, Castello di San Giusto, Sale del Bastione Fiorito, Il ramo d’oro – Un’ipotesi visiva da Picasso a Ernst, 1982 (edition no. unknown)



‘Premiati alla XXXII Biennale di Venezia’, in:  Arte Casa, Milan,  September 1964, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Buzzati, ‘Anche popolata di mostri è sempre una gran festa’ in: Corriere d’Informazione, Milan, 19 June 1964, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Gillo Dorfles, ‘Arnaldo Pomodoro: Sculptor of the Cosmos’, in: Studio International Art, London, April 1964, p. 140, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Umbro Apollonio and Enrico Crispolti, Arte d’oggi, Rome 1965, n.p., no. 64, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Giulio Carlo Argan, ‘Arnaldo og Giò Pomodoro’, in: Louisiana Revy, Los Angeles, April 1965, p. 30, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Mario De Micheli, La scultura del Novecento, Milan 1966, p. 71, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Nicolas Calas and Elena Calas, La collezione d’arte moderna di Peggy Guggenheim, Turin 1967, p. 211, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Sam Hunter, Arnaldo Pomodoro, New York 1982, p. 66, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Lamberto Lambertini, ‘I miti di Pomodoro’, in: Il Giornale Nuovo,  Milan, September  1987, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Roberto Longhi, ‘La scandalosa arte di Peggy Guggenheim’, in: La Mia Casa, Sesto San Giovanni, April 1987, p. 98, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Gorni, ‘Palazzo Ducale: inedita galleria di sculture e dipinti moderni’, in: Gazzetta di Mantova, Mantova, June 1988, p. 5, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Erminio Macario, ‘Guggenheim a Mantova’, in: Città Nuova, Rome, July 1988, p. 55, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Jesse H. Ausubel, ‘2020 Vision’, in: The Sciences, November - December 1993, p. 14, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Sam Hunter, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan 1995, p. 66, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Arnaldo Pomodoro, ‘Ringraziamento’, in: Arnaldo Pomodoro, Arnaldo Pomodoro sphere within a sphere for the U.N. headquarters, Rome 1997, p. 65-67, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Belli, ‘Multipli d’are in metallo’, in: Orologi e Le Misure del Tempo, Rome, June 1997, p. 174, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Marco Vallora, ‘L’arte di oggi è fatta di luce’, in: La Stampa, Turin, December 1998, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Alberto Fiz, ‘Ri-creare con la luce’, in: Carnet, No. 3, Milan, March 1999, p. 41, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Alberto Fiz, ‘Con le sculture, è in mostra la luce’, in: Italia Oggi, Milan, February 1999, p. 42, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Gianfranco Ferroni, ‘Il colore della luce’, in: Summa, Rome, June 1999, p. 41, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Paloscia, ‘Fiat lux’, in: Arte In, Venice - Mestre, February - March 1999, p. 73, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

‘Arnaldo Pomodoro ad Ancona’, in: Linea, Rome, December  2002, p. 7, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Quattordio, ‘L’arte sul palcoscenico’, in: Architectural Digest, Milan, May 2003, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Flaminio Gualdoni, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Catalogo ragionato della scultura, Vol. II, Milan 2007, p. 509, no. 358, illustrated (edition no. unknown)


Colour: The colour in the catalogue illustration is fairly accurate, although the overall tonality is less yellow in the original. Condition: Please refer to the department for a professional condition report.
"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

Executed in 1964, and exhibited at the Venice Biennale during the same year - a landmark exhibition for Arnaldo Pomodoro’s career - Sfera N. 3 is a remarkable example of the artist’s most iconic series. Attesting to the importance of this work, another example from this edition is housed in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, New York. Using the simple form of the sphere, Pomodoro tears open its pristine, polished surface to reveal a network of internal structures. The sphere is thus transformed into a multiplicity of paradoxes which are all effortlessly united into one distinctly serene entity. The juxtaposition of the inner layers’ rich texture with the beautifully smooth exterior creates a sense of drama that seduces the viewer into the work’s highly complex narrative.

Pomodoro began his working career as a civil engineer shortly after the end of the Second World War, reconstructing buildings that had been destroyed by conflict. This notion of destruction and regeneration is clearly visible throughout his entire artistic practice and has become a defining characteristic of his sculptures. The sleek external layer of Sfera N. 3 evokes a perfect and complete world, whilst the inner chaos is evocative of something more akin to a ruined city. The unique interplay of positive and negative space, presence and absence, exquisitely captures this tension between past and present. As the artist explained: “For me the ‘destruction’ element in form was my most important discovery, and the most authentic both in terms of myself and my times” (Arnaldo Pomodoro cited in: Sam Hunter, Arnaldo Pomodoro, New York 1982, p. 52).

Another concern throughout Pomodoro’s work, and one which is very much prevalent in Sfera N. 3, is the relationship between the individual sculpture and the space in which it is situated. Pomodoro believes that sculpture is the realisation of a space of its own within the greater space in which it lives and moves. By eliminating the concept of frontality, which encourages the viewer to walk around Sfera N. 3 in order to view it from multiple perspectives, the sculpture changes the way the viewer experiences his surroundings. As explained by the artist: “When a work transforms the place in which it is located, it takes on the valence of a true and proper witness of the times that spawned it, and thus places a mark on its context, enriching it with additional layers of memory” (Arnaldo Pomodoro, Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, 2008, online).

Throughout his oeuvre Pomodoro’s works have explored themes of continuity, human experience, and human development by juxtaposing the old with the new, the past with the present, and destruction with regeneration. Sfera N. 3 is no exception, with its complex interplay of light and texture it is a constant reminder of these dramatic dichotomies.

Since the creation of Sfera N. 3 Pomodoro’s work has continued to gain international recognition for its unique engagement with fundamental geometric shapes such as the column, cube, pyramid, disc and most notably the sphere. His spheres can be seen in monumental forms across the globe, displayed for example in the Vatican Museum in Rome, Trinity College in Dublin, the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, and the Tel Aviv University in Israel, to name a few.