Lot 149
  • 149

DAN GRAHAM | Gate of Hope

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
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  • Dan Graham
  • Gate of Hope
  • glass, aluminium and acrylic on wood
  • 82 by 125 by 75 cm. 32 3/8 by 49 1/4 by 29 1/2 in.
  • Executed in 1991, this work is unique.


Galerie Durand-Dessert, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Colour: The colour in the catalogue illustration is fairly accurate. Condition: This work is in very good condition. Close inspection reveals some evidence of handling and a few superficial scratches to the aluminium frame. There are a few drying cracks, very small nicks and thin scratches in places to the overturn edges of the wooden base.
"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

A deeply personal and conceptually rigorous collection, Concept to Form: an Homage to Collecting from the 60s to the present day presents a lovingly assembled collection that perfectly captures the zeitgeist of conceptual and cutting - edge collecting since the 60s. Chosen carefully and lovingly over the course of over five decades, the works presented in Concept to Form: an Homage to Collecting since the 60s perfectly reflect the deeply personal and emotional bonds that their owners formed with them throughout their collecting adventure. Showing an acute awareness of the progress of conceptual art in Europe since the inception of the collection, each of the works in the present grouping holds a unique and important place, and demonstrates the intense bond between the collectors and the artists they worked with. Led by Bewegtes Feld by Gunther Uecker from 1964, the present selection testifies to the visionary character of a couple who was daring enough to acquire works by artists who had not reached the legendary status they are known for today. Uecker’s harmoniously dynamic Nagelbild stands in perfect dialogue with Lucio Fontana’s perforated Concetto Spaziale, whose composition is simultaneously vibrant and refined, and these converse with the likes of Luciano Fabro and Giovanni Anselmo, whose sculptural practices continuously challenge the viewer’s perception of space whilst investigating the very materiality of their own production. Uecker, Fontana, Anselmo and Fabro showed complete disregard for materials previously considered sacred to artists, tearing, perforating, hammering into or disregarding the canvas altogether in favour of other media such as plastic or found materials. Ephemera come alive at the hands of many of the artists in the collection, and in particular at the hands of Mimmo Rotella whose work Materia Viva from the 1950s was one of their first acquisitions. Rotella’s rugged collage is accentuated by Francois Dufrêne and Raymond Hains, who took to the streets as inspiration and source for their artwork, incorporating posters that had been forgotten and tearing them to create compositions that gave them new meaning. It is by looking at these artworks holistically a that common thread can be identified; an underlying interest in the material, the formal aspects of the artwork, a fascination with textures, shapes, and an exceptional eye to make unexpected links between artworks of different periods and movements in a seamless way.

The European post-war contingent is met by their American counterparts; John Baldessari’s Black Shape (Large)/Blue Shape (Small) (With Onlookers) is archetypal of his use of found imagery, also transforming the photographs he appropriates by adding text, or by blocking parts of the composition with coloured shapes such as in the present work. Baldessari’s conceptual minimalism is met by Sol LeWitt’s inventive and poetic use of the line and Dan Graham’s architectural Gate of Hope that seems to want to defy the space around it. 

All of these works coexisted in a beautifully curated home, giving one another new and unimagined meanings. Their owners built relationships and friendships with many of the artists they collected, such as Lucio Fontana or Giuseppe Penone who would even create a work on the very grounds of their home. Executed between 1983 and 1988 I Colori dei Temporali was first installed in their garden with a living tree as a support. A sort of ‘intervention’ ensued, with the tree growing organically into the finished work of art. Overall, what transcends the works themselves is the fearless curiosity of the collectors, their singular taste, and a desire to live with and enjoy works that were acquired patiently and in the most discerning way over many decades.

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.