Property from the Estate of William Turnbull
BLADE VENUS 1
stamped with Artist’s monogram and numbered A/C
height (excluding base): 96cm.; 37¾in.
Conceived in 1989, the present work is the one Artist's Cast aside from the edition of 6.
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The sculpture appears sound. There may be one or two tiny casting imperfections. There is evidence of casting residue to the creviced areas to the reverse and possibly some very light surface dust. This excepting, the work appears in excellent overall condition.
The sculpture is affixed to a stone base with one screw.
Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Amanda A. Davidson, The Sculpture of William Turnbull, Henry Moore Foundation & Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2005, cat no.267, illustrated p.176 (another cast).
London, Serpentine Gallery, William Turnbull, 1995 (another cast);
London, Waddington Galleries, William Turnbull, 1998, cat no.1, p.16, illustrated p.17 (another cast);
London, Waddington Galleries, William Turnbull, 2004 illustrated p.32 (another cast);
London, Sotheby's S|2, William Turnbull, 9 October - 17 November 2017, p.140, illustrated p.17 (another cast).
In the catalogue raisonné of Turnbull’s sculpture, which was written in close collaboration with the artist, Amanda Davidson, explains the origins of the Blade Venus series:
'The idea of metamorphosis in Turnbull's work is at its most intense in the Blade Venus series. These large sculptures suggest the shapes of Chinese knives, Japanese Samurai swords, pens, paintbrushes, leaves and goddess figures in one elegant, slightly curved form. Their form and inspiration relate them to the Zen paintings that inspired Turnbull and to the calligraphic paintings, drawings and reliefs that he produced in the 1950s. Like a single gesture, with a wide and a thin section, they combine all of the breadth of the front view with the slenderness of the side view in one perception. Part of their ambiguity and their dynamic presence stems from the spectators' simultaneous ability to see both the wide element and the narrow section as the handle or the blade or tip of the tool. Although they are absolutely still they are also balanced on their sharpest point, poised to act.'
(Amanda A. Davidson, The Sculpture of William Turnbull, Henry Moore Foundation & Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2005, pp.72-73).