Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 22. Large Mezcala Stone Figure, Type M-10, Late Preclassic, circa 300-100 BC.

The David M. Solinger Collection

Large Mezcala Stone Figure, Type M-10, Late Preclassic, circa 300-100 BC

Lot Closed

November 21, 07:25 PM GMT

Estimate

40,000 - 60,000 USD

Lot Details

Description

The David M. Solinger Collection


Large Mezcala Stone Figure, Type M-10

Late Preclassic, circa 300-100 BC


Height 14 in (35.5 cm)

André Emmerich, New York (inv. no. G354)
Acquired from the above on May 9, 1958

Mezcala stone figures distil the human form into its simplest formal elements with an elegant, expressive simplicity that is universally recognizable. The subtlest angles impart the naturalism of great sculpture. The tilt of the head on this figure suggests the emergence of an expression; firm diagonal lines of the arms against the torso, confident in placement and technique. A broad rectangular torso centers the body between the tapered legs and the narrowed brow of the head.


This Mezcala figure is a particularly large example of the M10 style, described as the cardinal image of the Mezcala tradition, which influenced subsequent types (see Carlo Gay and Frances Pratt, Mezcala: Ancient Stone Sculpture from Guerrero Mexico, Geneva, 1992, p. 51).


In the Solinger home, this figure was placed nearby two important works: Fernand Léger's 1951 Jeune fille au corsage jaune and Jean Arp's 1936 Fruit méchant. These works share a purity of form and color, as well as profound expressiveness.


Mezcala figures were first studied in the 1920s by the Mexican artist and collector Miguel Covarrubias, who applied both an artistic appreciation and a scholarly approach in looking at regional styles. It was not until the dedicated research of Carlo T. E. Gay in the 1960s that Mezcala styles were thoroughly described, analyzed, and illustrated in a systematic format. These efforts were recorded in the exhibit at the Museum of Primitive Art in New York, Mezcala Stone Sculpture: The Human Figure, 1967. Concurrently, significant attention was drawn to the art style by exhibitions in the New York art scene, notably by André Emmerich. His keen eye recognized the modernist aesthetic in the exhibition Abstract Art Before Columbus, 1957. Solinger was one of the early collectors of Mezcala art, and acquired the present figure from Emmerich, along with the figure offered here as lot 23.