L'Homme et son Destin
December 9, 11:37 PM GMT
350,000 - 550,000 USD
L'Homme et son Destin
patinated bronze, marble base
impressed G. Miklos and dated 29
29 1/8 x 16 3/8 x 7 1/2 in. (74.1 x 41.6 x 19 cm)
This lot is offered together with a copy of the certificate of authenticity from Madame Gustave Miklos.
As formally harmonious as it is curiously enigmatic, Gustave Miklos’ L’Homme et son Destin (“Man and his Destiny”) represents perhaps one of the artist’s most complex sculptural works in bronze. The present lot is a unique work and cast, although three versions of a related motif were created between 1928 and 1929. A much smaller version of this sculpture in silver and measuring approximately 5 ½ inches is referenced in the catalogue of Miklos’ solo exhibition at the Galerie l’Enseigne du Cerceau in Paris in 1973; the form was also the main inspiration for the design of François-Louis Schmied’s ex-libris.
Finely executed and sculpted with superb precision, L’Homme displays exceptional attention to detail as evidenced by the exquisite decorative incisions on the figure’s head and waist. Miklos’ predilection for geometric and abstract elements harmoniously coexist here within the overall figurative treatment of the subject matter, and recall his formalist and traditional artistic training. The figure’s stoic stance and highly ornamental masked head simultaneously resemble knight statuary from Medieval funerary art and Cubist reinterpretations of Sub-Saharan African art and sculpture. Legs open and arms raised, the man sits proudly on a round base while holding what appears to be either a son or a miniature version of himself— perhaps a metaphor for destiny itself. The inclusion of this small figure constitutes an unusual and particularly eerie addition to Miklos’ artistic repertoire, which typically solely draws upon naturalistic depictions of human and animal subjects imbued with Cubist influences.
This sculpture was executed in 1929 at the height of Miklos’ career. His first solo exhibition at the Galerie de la Renaissance the year before marked a career-defining moment which solidified his stature as a significant member of the Parisian avant-garde. This seminal exhibition showcased many bronze sculptures that announced a more mature style and blurred the lines between naturalism and abstraction. This impressive presentation helped Miklos build a solid reputation as a sculptor in his own right with a distinct practice defined by a non-figurative approach to living forms. The present work reflects the artist’s growth towards the end of the 1920s and the accomplished synthesis of artistic references in his practice, which contribute to making L’Homme et son Destin one of Miklos’ most eminent masterpieces.