Pritam and Eames, East Hampton, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1993
Bebe Pritam Johnson and Warren Eames Johnson, Speaking of Furniture: Conversations with 14 American Masters, New York, 2013, pp. 90 and 99
While originally trained as a painter at the Rhode Island School of Design, Judy Kensley McKie is now best known as a leading figure of the American Studio furniture movement. McKie started producing pieces of furniture incorporating animalistic motifs in 1971. Her fascination with Pre-Columbian, African, and Native American visual cultures is apparent in the treatment of her figurative designs, which rely on a uniquely ambiguous rather than realistic style. Imaginative hybrid monkeys, dogs, and jaguars become integral elements of each piece, occasionally taking the shape of an armrest or the back of a chair. In some examples, such as the present bench, the animal itself becomes the piece. By blurring the traditional distinction between form and function, McKie successfully brings her creature-filled universe to life. Other examples of her Jaguar Bench, considered one of her most important works in bronze, are held in the collections of the Albuquerque Museum and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.
Overall good condition. The patinated surface of this work show a rich hue and nuanced coloration to the patination that only heightens the sculptural depth of the work. Minor signs of scuffing are visible on head, body, and feet and consistent with gentle use. Two thin scratches on the jaguar's back (each 1 ½ and 2 ½ inches long) and one on the left side of the back leg (1x1-inch in diameter). Some minor surface dirt on the head and back in the form of darker spots, but not visually distracting. The top surface of the bench with some small circular areas of roughness (approx ⅛ in diameter) to the metal which can be removed by a professional restorer. Please feel free to inquire with a member of the department regarding this. With McKie's characteristic graphic aesthetic, the bench is highly sculpture and presents well overall. 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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.