Le Corbeau et le Renard (The Crow and the Fox)
1924 - 1976
Le Corbeau et le Renard (The Crow and the Fox)
(i) titled and inscribed; signed with the artist's initials, dated Bruxelles 67 and numbered 26/40 on a label inside of the portfolio
(iii),(v) signed with the artist's initials and numbered 26/40 on the reverse
(vi),(viii) signed with the artist's initials and numbered 26/40
(iv) printed signature, title and dated Antwerp/Belgium 1967 and inscribed on a label affixed to the surface
(ix) signed with the artist's initials, titled and numbered 26/40
(i) cardboard portfolio
(ii) printed canvas and panel
(iii) printed paper collage on off-set lithograph on cardboard
(iv) film reel in metallic container with label Wide White Space Gallery – Antwerp/Belgium
(v) off-set lithograph on cardboard
(vi),(viii)-(ix) printed canvas
(vii) printed screen and painted wood
(i) 80 by 60 cm., 31½ by 23⅝ in.
(ii) 61 by 81 by 4.3 cm., 24 by 31⅞ by 1 in.
(iii),(v) 55.8 by 75.9 cm., 22 by 29¾ in.
(iv) diameter: 18.7 cm., 7¼ in.
(vi),(viii) 76 by 54 cm., 30 by 21¼ in.
(viii) 94 by 130 cm., 37 by 51 in.
(ix) 54 by 76 cm., 21¼ by 30 in.
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Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerp
Acquired from the above by the present owner
The present work titled Le Corbeau et le Renard (the Crow and the Fox) by the Belgian visual artist Marcel Broodthaers is an extraordinary installation showing his ability to merge different artistic disciplines. Consisting of writing and film though still being a graphic work.
Marcel Broodthaers is one of the key artists of the 20th century who freely incorporates language errors and figures of speech, classic literary authors and objects from everyday life into his work, as in the present installation the famous poem by Jean de la Fontaine.
Le Corbeau et le Renard explores the relations between the visual arts, poetry and language simultaneously showing how Broodthaers employs the medium of film to bring together various types of artistic and non-artistic materials and inquiries.
Within the film Broodthaers experiments with the two-dimensionality of the film image and the inverting of lighting processes of the relation between positive to negative by filming postcards, maps and amateur paintings found in archives and antiquarian stores.
The fox in La Fontaine’s fable ‘Le Corbeau et le Renard’, thanks to his rhetorical skills, can reverse his and the crow’s material situation. The short text bears eloquent testimony to the potential of language with its wit, semantic ambivalences, and poetic openness to destabilize a prevailing reality. Reality for La Fontaine was specifically defined by the conditions at court and by courtiers’ machinations. For Broodthaers, in contrast, the crow in ‘Le Corbeau et le Renard’ embodies a different power relation that is not so easy to define. This reality derives from the institutionalised and officially sanctioned procedures of cultural production and the stipulations of the critical-academic canon that they establish. Turning his back on the patterns laid down in this system, Broodthaers devotes himself to the desire to find or invent ways of writing that go beyond language.