Sir Eduardo Paolozzi CBE, RA
- Sir Eduardo Paolozzi CBE, RA
- Paris Bird
- stamped with signature and numbered 1/6
- length: 35cm.; 14in.
- Conceived in 1948-9, and cast circa 1957, the present work is number 1 from the edition of 6.
New York, Betty Parsons Gallery, Paolozzi, 23rd April – 12th May 1962, cat. no.1;
Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Eduardo Paolozzi, 5th February – 6th April 1975, cat. no.3 (another cast);
London, Fischer Fine Art, Homage to Henry Moore - A Tribute to Sculpture, 28th May - 10th July 1987, un-numbered exhibition;
Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Eduardo Paolozzi: 70th Birthday Exhibition, 14th August - 2nd October 1994, un-numbered exhibition, illustrated (n.p.).
Frank Whitford, Eduardo Paolozzi (exh. cat.), Tate, London, 1971, illustrated p.11 (another cast):
Winfried Konnertz, Eduardo Paolozzi, Cologne, 1984, pp.53–4, illustrated fig.91;
Fiona Pearson, Eduardo Paolozzi (exh. cat.), National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1999, illustrated pl.18 (another cast);
Robin Spencer (ed.), Eduardo Paolozzi: Writings and Interviews, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, footnote p.64.
In the late 1940s the then young art critic David Sylvester wrote that ‘if you had an urgent desire to find out what artists of today are doing, you must go the Mayor Gallery and see the work of Eduardo Paolozzi’. Recently the subject of a major retrospective at London's Whitechapel Art Gallery, Paolozzi, born in Scotland to Italian parents, had moved to Paris in the summer of 1947 following a stint at London’s Slade School of Fine Art. In Paris he discovered a city only just beginning to recover from the occupation and destruction of the Second World War, brimming with artists, poets and designers. Along with his friend, the artist William Turnbull, he visited Jean Dubuffet’s Foyer de l’Art Brut, which championed untrained and outsider artists, and got to know the leading artists of the day including Ferdinand Léger, Georges Braques, Jean Arp, Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti.
Paolozzi later recalled that Giacometti was the one that ‘I had the most contact with, he was the one that I admired the most’ (Eduardo Paolozzi, 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). As with Turnbull, Paolozzi's works were profoundly impacted by Giacometti, including Forms on a Bow No. 2, Two Forms on a Rod and Paris Bird, which the artist invited Giacometti to inspect in person in his studio. Yet whilst Forms on a Bow and Two Forms on a Rod are ambiguous in their construct, Paris Bird is undeniably machinist in its make-up, including the first appearance in Paolozzi’s sculpture of the pierced wheel, something which was to become a popular and much-used motif. Made of clay and plaster due to financial and material constraints, and later cast in England, the work pays homage to the Surrealist and Dada artists that Paolozzi had met and got to know in Paris, using three discernible machine elements, cut and later welded together. Paris Bird reflects on the important and highly formative time that Paolozzi spent in Paris, and also looks forward to his mechanised sculptures that emerged in the 1960s, which rocketed the Artist, as one of the first practitioners of British Pop to international acclaim.
Other casts of the present work are held in the collection of Tate, London, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia.