Lot 11
  • 11

Alexander Archipenko

1,500,000 - 2,500,000 USD
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  • Alexander Archipenko
  • Blue Dancer
  • Inscribed Archipenko, dated 13 and numbered 8/8F
  • Bronze
  • Height: 41 5/8 in.
  • 105.8 cm


Frances Archipenko Gray

Perls Galleries, New York (acquired from the above in 1965)

Evelyn Sharp, New York & Los Angeles (acquired from the above in 1968 and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 12, 1997, lot 3)

Acquired at the above sale


Los Angeles, University of California Art Galleries, Alexander Archipenko: A Memorial Exhibition, 1967-69, no. 14, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Evelyn Sharp Collection, 1978, no. 2, illustrated in color in the catalogue 


Alexander Archipenko, Bronzes (exhibition catalogue), Perls Galleries, New York, 1962, illustration of another cast n.p.

Winnipeg, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Alexander Archipenko, 1962, no. 8, illustration of another cast n.p.

Donald H. Karshan, Archipenko International Visionary, Washington, D.C., 1969, no. 14, illustration of another cast p. 36

Alexander Archipenko (exhibition catalogue), Musée des Beaux Arts de Lyon, Lyon, 1969, no. 14, illustration of another cast n.p.

Katherine Jánszky Michaelsen, Archipenko: A Study of the Early Works, 1908-20, New York, 1977, no. S47, illustration of the painted plaster pp. 91-92

Donald H. Karshan, Archipenko: The Sculpture and Graphic Art, Tübingen, 1974, illustration of another cast p. 37

Alexander Archipenko Band 1 Alexander Archipenkos Erbe Werke von 1908 bis 1963 aus dem testamentarischen Vermächtnis (exhibition catalogue), Moderne Galerie des Saarland Museums, Saarbrücken, 1986, no. 14, illustration of the painted plaster n.p.

Anette Barth, Alexander Archipenko's plastisches oeuvre, Frankfurt & Milan, 1997, vol. II, no. 43, illustration of the plaster p. 95

Ildikó Nagy, Archipenko, Budapest, 1980, no. 16, illustration of another cast n.p.

Alexander Archipenko (exhibition catalogue), Saarlandmuseum, Saarbrücken, 2008-09, no. 15, illustration in color of the painted plaster p. 69

Catalogue Note

Conceived in 1913, Blue Dancer is one of Archipenko's greatest achievements as a sculptor. Here, the artist has articulated the lithe body of a dancer in mid-movement, agilely balancing herself on her toes. The vibrant color and animation of this figure recall Matisse's famed La Danse, which Archipenko would have seen when it was exhibited in Paris in 1910. Created at the height of the Cubist movement, this compelling sculpture demonstrates the dynamic relationship between the figure and its surrounding space with a gracefulness reminiscent of the bronze dancers of Degas.

At the time he completed this work, Archipenko was living in Paris, and his experiences with the avant-garde had a profound effect on his artistic development.  Of particular influence were the performances of the Cirque Médrano in Montmartre and Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, which also had a significant impact on the work of Léger and Picasso during the 1910s. Archipenko was inspired by these spectacles to execute a series of dancers. Indeed no other motif figures as prominently in his oeuvre during this period. Many of these sculptures focus on the elegant contortions of the body and its interaction with surrounding space. One of his first works that explored this theme was Red Dance, 1912-13, a hybrid of relief and three-dimensional sculpture created in red painted plaster and silhouetted against a blue background. Archipenko later recomposed this work, detaching the figure from its background plane and creating the form for Blue Dancer.

While Blue Dancer was conceived in 1913, the artist did not begin casting the work until 1960 when he was living in New York. That year, the artist made a trip to France, where he learned the whereabouts of many of his original plasters that he had left behind in 1923 when he moved to the United States. He arranged to have these plasters, including that of the Blue Dancer, shipped to New York, where he began casting them in bronze. The casting was begun under the artist's supervision and was finished after his death in 1964 under the authority of his estate.