Sculpture éponge rose (SE 207) is one of only seven extremely rare examples of Yves Klein’s celebrated Sculptures éponges rendered in the exquisite madder rose shade that made up a third of his unique colour triad: International Klein Blue (IKB), gold and rose.
At a pioneering exhibition at the Galerie Iris Clert in 1959, Bas-Reliefs dans une forêt d’éponges, Klein displayed an array of sponge sculptures alongside his already well-known monochromes. Installed together the sponges became an otherworldly forest, a mystical environment that envisaged a new immaterial landscape. The viewer became an active participant in the exhibition, seemingly immersed into the midst of a strange parallel world. (click on the link below for full lot notes)
Executed in his signature International Klein Blue pigment, Yves Klein’s Relief planétaire (RP 17) is an outstanding sculptural painting, mirroring the topographical contours of the Nice coastline where the artist was born.
Inspired by the first human voyage into space on 12 April 1961, the same year as the creation of the present work, Klein believed that the Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin had provided scientific proof of his belief that Earth was blue. The series from which the present work comes explores the way in which humanity perceived itself and its place in the universe with the advent of space travel, responding to Gagarin’s statement: ‘I saw the sky very dark and the earth blue, of a deep and intense blue.’
Before travelling to Nice for the summer he acquired physical relief maps of France at the Institut Géographique National and in August he created his first Relief planétaire, a map of the Grenoble region infused with IKB. Between September and November 1961 he went on to create approximately twenty further works in this series. A plaster cast of the original map was made before being painted uniformly in IKB.
Standing at nearly a metre tall, Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, Attese is an exquisite monochrome tagli, the pristine white canvas dramatically penetrated with three elegant vertical slashes.
The minimal white canvas can be seen to inform the artist’s acclaimed installation the following year at the XXXIII Biennale di Venezia. Commenting on this work, Fontana explained: ‘I wanted to create a “spatial environment”, by which I mean an environmental structure, a preliminary journey in which the twenty slits would be as if in a labyrinth containing blanks of the same shape and colour’ (L. Fontana, quoted in S. Whitfield, Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., London, 1999).