6 Bronze Sculptures from Masters of Modern Art Including Henri Matisse, August Rodin and More

Henri Matisse, Petit nu au polochon, conceived in 1918. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
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From Surrealist objects to abstract forms, bronze has long been favored by modern sculptors including such titans of the 20th century as Henry Moore and Joan Miró. A fantastic array of masterworks in bronze highlight the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening and Day Sales in November. Click ahead to learn more about a selection of highlights to be offered in New York. – Josefina Wollak

6 Bronze Sculptures from Masters of Modern Art Including Henri Matisse, August Rodin and More

  • Henry Moore, Reclining Figure on Pedestal, conceived in 1959-60. Estimate $1,200,000–1,800,000.
    Reclining figure is one of Moore’s most iconic subject matters and one which he constantly returned to, adapting it every time. Reclining figure perfectly represents Moore’s relationship between form, landscape and surrounding architecture. Moore strove to make his works fit within the architectural spaces around them. Moore’s insistence that his work not be divorced from its surroundings can be seen as the pedestal is part of the title of the work itself. The form of the work is comprised in part through negation of substance. The gaps and holes in the bronze create the form while still maintaining a united body. Sketches of Moore show that he first conceived of the subject by studying bones and rock formations.
  • Joan Miró, Personnage, 1978. Estimate $800,000–1,200,000.
    Miró manages to bring his fantastical tendencies into sculpture by creating surrealist forms in his bronze work. Although the work is surrealist, it is still rooted in the human form and straddles the line of geometric shapes, biomorphic and semi-abstract forms whilst never becoming fully non-objective. Miró invented a new aesthetic in which meticulously imagined shapes are juxtaposed with observable forms such as the human body as depicted in Personnage. Miró wants to represent the true essence of what it is to be human devoid of any distraction by slimming down the sculpture and presenting only the most necessary recognizable features. Whilst Miró’s work may appear the result of spontaneous, instinctive work, he in fact went through a lengthy process studying and rendering his sculptures in advance.
  • Jean Arp, Torse, Conceived in 1931. Estimate $2,000,000–3,000,000.
    Jean Arp was one of the most adaptive and creative artists of the 20th century. He was a sculptor, painter, poet and within these categories worked in many different mediums. Arp worked in abstract lines rooted in natural forms as can be seen in Torse. Whilst remaining abstract, Torse still successfully conveys the form of a female body through its soft curves and elongated form. As one of the founders of the Dadaist movement, Arp believed in the role of chance and randomness in works. He engineered his work process so as to not set limitations on himself or the work. First he created a piece, and only after it was completed would he name it. In doing so, the title of a piece does not shape the work. This practice was very unlike the existing customs of the time.
  • Barbara Hepworth, Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian), conceived in 1958. Estimate $1,000,000–1,500,000.
    Barbara Hepworth was interested in form and abstraction but especially in relationships. The definition of relationships, as pertains to Hepworth’s work means the relationship between forms, human figures and the landscape, color and texture and the rapport between an individual and society. Hepworth’s interests in relationships can be seen in Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian) in the interplay between the looped forms which at times overlap and at other times move away from each other. Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian) is the middle stage between the first studies and the monumental version of the work. As seen in this work, Hepworth maintained a constant theme throughout her work of including negative space in the form of a hole in the center.

    Other casts of Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian) can be found in the collections of the Tate Gallery, London and New College, Oxford.
  • Joan Miro, Conque, conceived in 1969. Esimate $700,000–1,000,000.
    Showcasing Miró’s creativity and span of work, Conque demonstrates how Miró could impart the sense of a female form whilst still encased in the shape of a shell. Miró would venture out of his studio and collect small random, seemingly inconsequential objects which he would later use as inspiration for his works. In this case, after a stroll on the beach near his Majorca studio he returned with seashells which he used as inspiration to create a female form in Conque. Miró’s depictions of human forms can be universally understood and applied.
  • Lynn Chadwick, Stairs, conceived in 1990. Estimate $250,000–350,000.
    Chadwick’s Stairs remains figurative while not being literal but nevertheless incorporating abstract elements. Chadwick developed a style comprised of skeletal lines and rough planes which, when placed together form a figure. His method was abnormal, as he chose to directly create rather than planning firsthand. A follower of Calder, Chadwick’s works are often created by welding pieces of bronze rather than one smooth body which adds layers of depth to his work. Chadwick’s work share a very geometric and sharp shape in lieu of faces and heads. The sharp forms invite the observer to question the psyche of the object in this way creating an intellectual challenge.

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