LA DANSEUSE AUX CHEVEUX COURTS NOUBA
inscribed 3/8; with Coubertin Hauteur Foundry stamp
bronze with brown patina
181 by 113.3 by 143cm., 71¼ by 44½ by 56¼in.
Base: Scattered abrasions along edges. Handful of green traces to the surface in some places. Sculpture: Dust in the crevices with whitening of the patina in various places. One minor scratch on proper right knee. Minor scuff on the back of the proper right knee. Minor abrasion along the neckless rope. This excepting, the work appears to be in very good condition.
Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6323 or email email@example.com if you have any questinos 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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Artcurial, Briest-Le Fur-Poulain, F.Tajan, Paris., Art Contemporain, 21 October 2007, Lot 0154A
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner
Paris, Musée Dapper, Les trois premiers bronzes d'Ousmane Sow, 26 April-30 June 2001
Paris, Galerie J.G.M, Ousmane Sow, 9 April-4 May 2002
Jean-Louis Pivin and Pascal Martin St Léon, Ousmane Sow. Sculptures, edited by Revue Noire, April 1995, illustrated in colour p. 16 & 17 (another version)
Ousmane Sow, Paris le Pont des Arts (exhibition catalogue), 1999, illustrated in colour p. 14 & 15 (another version)
Described as the Auguste Rodin of African sculptors, Ousmane Sow is the preeminent sculptor of the region. Hailing from Senegal, Sow is known for his larger than life sculptures, often depicting Africa’s great warriors in a detailed and expressive fashion. Sow was thoughtful in his artistic approach, treating each tribe he ever depicted with reverence, often immortalising and elevating them to a grand status through his medium. His oeuvre shows an immense level of skill and dedication to both the preservation of history and culture of times past.
Born in 1935 in Reubess, Senegal, Sow showed an interest in and fascination for sculpture from an early age. The artist would gather stones from a nearby beach, carving and shaping them into small figures. Coupled with his passion for sculpting, Sow was also a gifted storyteller, often accompanying his small figures with elaborate fictional stories to excite his close friends. Following the death of his father in 1957, the artist would leave Dakar for Paris, to study the fine art programme at the prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts. However, financial difficulties would prevent Sow from fulfilling his dream of studying fine art during his time in Paris. Sow would spend most of his life as a physical therapist, achieving a diploma in nursing at Laennec Hospital, as well as being fortunate to be under the tutelage of Boris Dolto, a pioneer of physiotherapy and orthopaedics in France.
Self-taught, Sow became a fully-fledged sculptor in his 50s and his training as a physical therapist proved to be vital in the development of his career as a sculptor. Applying the unique knowledge gained as a physical therapist, Sow’s oeuvre shows a high level of skill and an astute understanding of the human anatomy. La Danseuse aux Cheveux Courts Nouba exemplifies both Sow’s skill and knowledge of the human body. It is the pinnacle of expression in Sow’s oeuvre, imbued with life and displaying movements, and contortions with unrivalled realism.
La danseuse aux cheveux courts Nouba, stems from Sow’s acclaimed Nouba series. The series is influenced by Leni Riefensthal’s anthropological and ethnographical book, Die Nuba (1973), which chronicles the Nuba tribe and their eroding way of life, particularly Nubian wrestlers in Sudan. Sow sought to immortalise the great tribes and warriors of Africa, starting with the “Nuba” (1987) and in future series the “Masai”, “Zulu” and “Fulani”. The present lot depicts a short-haired Nuba dancer, enacting the “dance of love”. In South Kordofan, Sudan where the Nuba are native, young virgins having smeared their bodies with red or black earth to intensify their desirability, would enact the coquettish dance for the triumphant wrestlers in an annual combat. Sow’s La Danseuse aux Cheveux Courts Nouba is culturally and historically important, the dynamism, intense energy and vitality exuded in the immaculate bronze representation of the figure is one that is present in Africa today.
Treasured in Africa and internationally, Sow’s works have received acclaim wherever exhibited. In 1987, Sow exhibited the Nouba series at the French Cultural Centre in Dakar. In 1992, two works from the Nouba series were featured in Documenta IX, in Kassel, as well as the Venice Biennale in 1995. In 1999, by invitation of Paris City Hall, Sow would exhibit a large-Scale tableau of the Battle of Little Bighorn, his Nouba Series and much more at Pont des Arts in Paris. The exhibition attracted over 3 million visitors. In 2013, Sow would become the first African to be made a member at the Académie des Beaux Arts, in Paris, completing his legacy as one of the greatest sculptors to have lived.