Celebrate International Sculpture Day with These Must-See Artworks

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To celebrate International Sculpture Day, we take a look at masterworks to be offered in May in New York from African masters to such Modern and contemporary artists as Barbara Hepworth and John Chamberlain. Click ahead for range of works sure to delight sculpture lovers and connoisseurs.

The Shape of Beauty: Sculpture from the Collection of Howard and Saretta Barnet
14 May | New York

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
14 May | New York

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening
14 May | New York

Impressionist & Modern Art Day
15 May | New York

Raising the Bar: Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel
16 May | New York

Contemporary Art Evening
16 May | New York

Contemporary Art Day
17 May | New York

European Art
22 May | New York

American Art
23 May | New York

Celebrate International Sculpture Day with These Must-See Artworks

  • Master of Ntem, Fang-Mvai ancestor statue, circa 1750–1860, Ntem Valley, Gabon. Estimate $3,000,000–5,000,000.
    Central African reliquary sculpture has been one of the most admired and sought-after genres of African art since the beginning of the 20th century, and the reliquary sculpture of the Fang peoples in the present-day regions of northern Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and southern Cameroon has historically had a particularly powerful resonance with Western viewers. The Barnet Fang is a sculptural masterpiece, among the highest expressions of Fang sculptural canons. Through its extensive publication and exhibition history, which has included virtually all of the most important international exhibitions of the last 40 years, it has rightfully become one of the key works in our understanding of central African artistic genius, and an icon of African Art.



     



    The Shape of Beauty: Sculpture from the Collection of Howard and Saretta Barnet
    14 May | New York

  • Olmec mask fragment, Middle Preclassic, circa 900–600 BC. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    Masks in Olmec times were chiefly regalia and are now considered among the finest expressions of Pre-Columbian art. The Barnet mask fragment’s striking graduated color and translucency from blue to deep mossy-green jade as well as its lustrous ancient polish speak to its great aesthetic and refined form.



     



    The Shape of Beauty: Sculpture from the Collection of Howard and Saretta Barnet
    14 May | New York

  • Pole Club, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Estimate $200,000-300,000.
    Amongst the pantheon of Polynesian weapons the pole clubs or ‘akatara of Rarotonga or Atiu in the Cook Islands stand at the summit. These superbly elegant and refined weapons were objects of great prestige, imbued with the spiritual power, or mana, of their warrior owners. The present ‘akatara is a particularly exceptional example of its type, notable for the balance of its composition, the presence of several small ‘god’ figures around the collar, and the extraordinarily fine quality of the carving, notable both in the crisply carved blade and in the exceptional flanged butt.



     



    Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
    14 May | New York

  • Alberto Giacometti, Le Chat, conceived in 1951 and cast in 1955. Estimate $20,000,000–30,000,000.
    Alberto Giacometti's Le Chat is one of the most recognizable and profound compositions of his post-war production. Slinking along, with its body in perfect alignment, this graceful creature possesses elegance akin to the artist's elongated female nudes of the period. Subsequent to the creations of the plaster casts for Le Chat, Le Chien and Deux Chevaux, then the bronze renditions of Le Chat and Le Chien, Alberto never again sculpted animals, in effect ceding this domain to his brother, Diego, who developed a variety of his own delightful animal motifs, which he used to whimsically decorate the furniture he began to produce in the 1950s.



     



    Impressionist & Modern Art Evening
    14 May | New York



     

  • Lynn Chadwick, Pair of Walking Figures – Jubilee, 1977. Estimate $1,200,000–1,800,000.
    The majestic Pair of Walking Figures – Jubilee represents one of Chadwick’s most impressive and dynamic large-scale sculptures. A wonderful example of his depiction of motion, the present work was one of the very first in the group of bronzes titled Jubilee, a theme Chadwick would continue throughout the 1980s, producing a number of variations on the theme of a cloaked male and female figure, both as maquettes and monumental bronzes.



     



    Impressionist & Modern Art Evening
    14 May | New York

  • Barbara Hepworth, Torso I (Ulysses), conceived in 1958 and cast in 1960. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    Hepworth visited Greece in 1954 and left inspired by the light, landscape and art of the region. Torso I (Ulysses) is one such work which bears the influence of this trip, unifying in one flowing form the figural and the abstract. Hepworth had this work, among two others in this series, photographed against the sea, realizing her Greek-inspired vision of the human spirit captured in sculptural form.



     



    Impressionist & Modern Art Day
    15 May | New York

  • Barbara Hepworth, Hand Sculpture, executed in 1961. Estimate $500,000–700,000.
    Hand Sculpture represents the seminal moment in Barbara Hepworth's creative evolution when she returned as a mature artist to the form and material of her 1932 breakthrough work Pierced Form. This sculpture constitutes Hepworth’s initial experiment carving through the heart of the stone to create a spiraling void at its structural core. The “pierced” hole would become one of the most important formal, ideological and physical themes of Hepworth's practice.



     



    Impressionist & Modern Art Day
    15 May | New York

  • Max Ernst, Les Asperges de la lune. Estimate $1,200,000–1,800,000.
    Cast in bronze in an edition of eight, decades after its conception, Les Asperges de la lune is a fantastical sculptural tour-de-force and one of the earliest examples of Surrealism manifested in the round. Ernst, who was one of few Surrealists to embrace the sculptural medium successfully transposes the movement’s desire to shock the viewer, defy logic and embrace the absurd, all with the quintessentially Surrealist sense of humor that defines his œuvre.



     



    Impressionist & Modern Art Day
    15 May | New York

  • Jean Arp, Fleur dansante, conceived in 1957 and cast in January 1962. Estimate $1,200,000–1,800,000.
    Dating from 1957, Fleur dansante is a beautiful example of Arp’s mature sculpture, displaying a formal purity and a high level of abstraction that characterize his most accomplished works. Its elegant, elongated form is subtly reminiscent of a human figure, while its simplicity and smooth, polished surface transcend a human form, metamorphosing into the flower referred to in the title. The wonderfully organic and sensual quality of this sculpture is further enhanced by its title, which gives it a tender, romantic, as well as a playful note.



     



    Raising the Bar: Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel
    16 May | New York

  • Isamu Noguchi, Strange Bird, conceived in 1945 and cast in 1988. Estimate $800,000–1,200,000.
    Conceived first in 1945 and later cast in bronze with black patina in 1988, Strange Bird is an outstanding example of Isamu Noguchi’s aesthetic creed. Balanced on a sleek tripedal support, Strange Bird is comprised of a series of bonelike elements whose rounded contours effortlessly interlock with one another. Relying entirely on the principles of tension and suspension to hold these planar slabs in horizontal and vertical equilibrium, the sculpture exemplifies the technical and creative prowess which established Noguchi as one of the most influential and critically acclaimed sculptors of the 20th century.



     



    Raising the Bar: Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel
    16 May | New York

  • John Chamberlain, Nutcracker, 1958. Estimate $4,000,000–6,000,000.
    “I wasn’t interested in the car parts per se, I was interested in either the color or the shape or the amount. I didn’t want engine parts, I didn’t want wheels, upholstery, glass, oil, tires, rubber, lining, what somebody’d left in the car when they dumped it, dashboards, steering wheels, shafts, rear ends, muffler systems, transmissions, fly wheels, none of that. Just the sheet metal. It already had a coat of paint on it, and some of it was formed” – John Chamberlain*



     



    *Julie Sylvester, John Chamberlain: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculpture 1954–1985. New York, 1986, p. 15.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening
    16 May | New York

  • Alexander Calder, Various Shapes, Colors, Planes, 1951. Estimate $1,800,000–2,500,000. Property from the Estate of Dr. Philip C. Larkin.
    Comprising ten painted metal elements in Calder’s signature colors of black, white, red and yellow, the present work presents a bevy of multifaceted geometric shapes. Gifted directly from the artist to Dr. Philip Larkin in the 1970s, this sculpture exemplifies in stunning purity the artist’s creative tenets that have come to define his career, and moreover bears remarkable provenance, having remained in the Larkin family collection since its acquisition.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening
    16 May | New York

  • Donald Judd, Untitled, 1989. Estimate $800,000–1,200,000. Property from a Private American Collection.
    Produced five years before his untimely death, Donald Judd’s Untitled is undoubtedly one of the most elegant multicolored sculptures created by the single most significant practitioner of Minimalism. Executed in 1989, the present work is a masterful reprisal of Judd’s earlier painterly techniques in one of his most celebrated series – “multicolored works” – spanning from 1984 to 1991. Having not used more than two different colors in any of his works from 1960 to 1984, the bold combination of blood orange, saffron yellow, strawberry red and turquoise blue in Untitled is indicative of Judd’s insatiable appetite for vibrant hues in the final decade of his life.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening
    16 May | New York

  • John Chamberlain, Untitled, executed circa 1988. Estimate $400,000–600,000.
     



    Contemporary Art Day
    17 May | New York

  • Danh Vo, We the People (detail), executed in 2011. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
     



    Contemporary Art Day
    17 May | New York

  • David Altmejd, Figure, 2008. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
     



    Contemporary Art Day
    17 May | New York

  • Isamu Noguchi, The Inner Surface, 1978.
     



    Contemporary Art Day
    17 May | New York

  • Jean-Léon Gérôme, La Joueuse de Cerceau (The Hoop Dancer). Estimate $50,000–70,000.
    The subject of the Hoop Dancer, one the most popular in the sculpted œuvre of 19th-century French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, is based on ancient terracotta statuettes that were found at the archaeological site of Tanagra at Boeotia, Greece, in 1878. The present lot, which was made in polychromed plaster, is a rare example.



     



    European Art
    22 May | New York

  • Thomas Hart Benton, Impact, modeled in 1970 and cast in an edition of ten shortly thereafter. Estimate $70,000–100,000.
     



    American Art
    23 May | New York

  • Elie Nadelman, Seated Woman with Raised Arm, circa 1926–27. Estimate $400,000–600,000.
    Elie Nadelman arrived in Paris in 1904, quickly establishing himself within the art community and capturing the attention of the great art patrons Leo and Gertrude Stein, as well as Alfred Stieglitz. In 1925, Nadelman began to experiment with galvano-plastique, an involved artistic process that required immersing a plaster form into a metal bath – often bronze or copper – and then applying an electrical current that caused the metal to chemically adhere to the surface of the plaster. After first utilizing the technique on a group of busts, Nadelman then turned his attention to creating large scale, full-length female figures that are characterized by a dynamic and lyrical quality.



     



    American Art
    23 May | New York

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