- Reg Butler
- stamped with Artist's monogram; also stamped with Artist's monogram, dated 53 and numbered 2 on the underside
- shell bronze
Morton G. Neumann, Chicago
Carl Djerassi, California and London
Gimpel Fils, London, where acquired by the present owner
New York, Curt Valentin Gallery, Reg Butler, 11th January - 5th February 1955, cat. no.44, illustrated;
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, The 1961 Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, 27th October 1961 - 7th January 1962, cat. no.463 (another cast);
San Francisco, Rena Bransten Gallery, The Bay Area Collectors: A Focus on Sculpture, February - March 1987 (details untraced);
Chicago, David & Alfred Smart Museum of Art, From Blast to Pop: Aspects of Modern British Art, 1915 - 1965, 17th April - 15th June 1997, cat. no.58, illustrated pl.8 and p.84, with national tour (another cast);
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 'Forjar el Espacio' La Escultura Forjada del Siglio XX, 24th November 1998 - 7th February 1999, cat. no.13, illustrated p.254, with tour to IVAM Centre Julio Gonzales, Valencia and Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle, Calais;
Stroud, Pangolin Gallery, 'Vitalism' British Sculpture of the 50's, November 2001, illustrated p.15;
London, James Hyman Fine Art, Henry Moore and the Geometry of Fear: Robert Adams, Kenneth Armitage, Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Geoffrey Clarke, Bernard Meadows, Henry Moore, Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull, 19th November 2002 - 18th January 2003, cat. no.7, illustrated;
London, Gimpel Fils, Reg Butler, 11th September - 11th October 2003, cat. no.2;
London, Pangolin Gallery, Exorcising the Fear: British Sculpture from the 50s & 60s, 11th January - 3rd March 2012, illustrated pp.34-5.
As one of Butler’s earliest works, Machine is one of these important and seminal pieces that led to his international recognition. Butler was represented by Erica Brausen at the Hanover Gallery in London and by Curt Valentin at the Buchholz Gallery in New York, alongside Alexander Calder and Marino Marini. This cast of Machine, of which very few casts were made and none of which have before been seen on the open market, was sold by Curt Valentin to Morton Neumann in Chicago. Neumann was a pioneering collector of Modernism whose collection (of which 27 items were sold at Sotheby’s in 1998) included work by Picasso, Miro and Klee but also Giacometti, Dubuffet, Fontana, Jorn and Manzoni.
The chariot-like figure of Machine bears close comparison to Giacometti’s The Chariot (1950, Museum of Modern Art, New York) but also to ancient bronzes such as the fourteenth century BC Chariot of the Sun (National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen). Butler, who was closely connected to the European avant-garde as an editor of an architectural magazine, would certainly have been aware of artistic developments in Europe and the US, further emphasising Machine’s status as an important and only recently recognised, contribution to post-war Modernist art.