Lot 34
  • 34

Barry Flanagan, R.A.

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
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  • Barry Flanagan, R.A.
  • Thinker on Computer
  • stamped with monogram, numbered 6/8 and stamped with foundry mark
  • bronze
  • height: 113cm.; 44½in.
  • Conceived in 1996 and cast in 1999, the present work is number 6 from the edition of 8, plus 3 Artist’s Casts.


Private Collection, U.S.A.


Dublin, Royal Hibernian Academy, Annual Exhibition, 1997 (another cast);
Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, Barry Flanagan Sculpture, 17th April - 30th May 1998 (another cast);
Salzburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ensemble Moderne: Das Moderne Stilleben, 25th July – 31st August 1998, cat. no.34, with tour to Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris (another cast);
London, Waddington Galleries, Barry Flanagan and the Economist Plaza, 16th September - 10th October 1998, cat. no.1, illustrated (another cast);
Brussels, Xavier Hufkens, Barry Flanagan, 3rd June - 4th September 1999 (another cast);
Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Barry Flanagan: Plastik und Zeichnung - Sculpture and Drawing, 5th May - 14th July 2002, cat. no.26, with tour to Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art ContemporainNice (another cast);
Stockholm, Wetterling Gallery, Barry Flanagan, 12th April - 19th May 2007, un-numbered catalogue (another cast);
Stockholm, Wetterling Gallery, The 30th Anniversary, 17th September - 20th December 2008, un-numbered catalogue, illustrated p.33 (another cast);
London, Flat Time House, Palindromes, 2nd April – 17th May 2015, un-numbered catalogue, illustrated p.23 (another cast).


The sculpture appears sound. There is some slight unevenness and some small pit marks to the surface of the bronze in places, thought to be as a result of the casting process. There are some very minor traces of oxidisation to the underside of the top element of the computer. Subject to the above, the work appears to be in excellent overall condition. The sculpture is free standing. 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

We are grateful to Jo Melvin for her kind assistance with the cataloguing of the present work.

‘I find that the hare is a rich and expressive form that can carry the conventions of the cartoon and the attributes of the human into the animal world. So I use the hare as a vehicle to entertain. I abstract from the human figure, choosing the hare to behave as human occasionally’ (Barry Flanagan, quoted in Enrique Juncosa, Barry Flanagan Sculpture 1965-2005, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2006, p.65.)


Holding a position as one of the most internationally celebrated and sought-after British sculptors of the latter part of the twentieth century, like many a good artist Barry Flanagan made us challenge the manner in which we viewed the world around us. From early conceptual work in a rich variety of different media, to his bronzes which, from the 1980s onwards made use of his now most recognised motif – the hare – his work was ever evolving in terms of both subject and medium. Yet to many it is the subject of the hare, and his adept ability to capture the animal, imbuing it with human traits that he remains best known for. He had been drawn to the hare after reading George Ewart Evans’ 1972 The Leaping Hare. An anthropological study of the small creature, it set the sculptor on a path that he continued to explore until his death in 2009 and led him to produce some of his most important and iconic work.

Within this broader motif of the hare Flanagan developed the concept of the ‘thinking hare’ as early as 1990, and continued to explore this idea over the next two decades. A playful take on arguably the most recognised sculpture of modern times, Rodin’s La Penseur, or The Thinker, Flanagan cast his thinker in a manner of different positions and scenarios – including Thinker on Rock, a cast of which sold in these rooms in June of this year for £848,750, establishing a new record for the Artist at auction. Thinker on Computer holds an important position within Flanagan’s work, and assesses man’s relationship and growing dependency on modern day technology. In the fast-paced and ever-changing technological world, Flanagan’s thinking hare, balanced on top of an already out-dated machine becomes a symbol of a modern-day thinker. The very fact that the computer, an object with which we are all now so familiar and reliant upon, is presented in this medium is itself surprising and engaging. With forethought so characteristic of the sculptor, he casts the object as a semi-relic – an object of our time, which is juxtaposed by the thinker balanced on top, which remains un-changed and, in a sense, timeless. The work succeeds in being both humorous and poignant, allowing the viewer to bring their own interpretations to the piece, and making us question man’s current position within the fast-paced world in which we live.