Jean Arp (1886-1966), Evocation d’une forme humaine lunaire spectrale, Conceived in 1950. Cast cement. Height: 33 1/8 in. (84.1 cm.) Estimate: $200,000-300,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 13 November at Christie’s New York
Sarah El-Tamer, Junior Specialist: One of my favourite sculptures this season is Jean Arp’s Evocation d'une forme humaine lunaire spectrale of 1950. The sculpture’s undulations unfold before the viewer’s eyes, creating a seductive play of light and shadow and at once evoking a human torso and a mysterious lunar landscape (as the title describes).
As a former student of ballet for 15 years, I was immediately drawn to the sculpture’s organic quality and its likeness to the arching torso of a dancer. The light colour of the stone and surprising fluidity of the form lend a weightlessness to the sculpture which reminds me of the dichotomous nature of a dancer — simultaneously graceful and sturdy, and grounded even while suspended in air.
Julio González, Danseuse à la palette, Conceived circa 1934. Bronze with dark brown patina. Height: 33 in. (84 cm.). Height with base: 39 ¾ in. (101 cm.) Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 13 November at Christie’s New York
David Kleiwig de Zwaan, Head of Day Sale: Conceived in the early 1930s shortly after the artist’s inspirational and ground-breaking collaboration with Picasso, Danseuse à la palette is a perfect synthesis of the central themes and ideals of the ‘new art’ that González had forged from the metal off-cuts that littered his studio in Arcueil. González referred to this ‘new art’ as ‘drawing in space.’
Marking a radical departure from the carving and molding traditions in sculpture, and refuting the concept that sculpture is a redetermined idea, González developed a unique form of constructed sculpture that was a hybrid of many of the avant-garde tendencies of the 1930s.
Able to draw in three dimensions through his mastery of iron welding and other metallurgic arts, González created sculptures that are neither figurative nor wholly abstract, but somehow both. Concentrating on the vertical axis, his constructions are nearly always personages that don’t belong to Geometric Constructivism or Surrealism but exhibit an understanding of each of these tendencies.
Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973), Ploumanach, Conceived and executed in 1926. Unique. carved and painted ebony. Height: 31 ¼ in. (79.4 cm.) Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 13 November at Christie’s New York
Morgan Schoonhoven, Specialist, West Coast: It is such a pleasure being able to offer works for sale within the context of the group in which they were collected. This season, the Kayden collection stands out to me in particular, not only for the breadth of artists represented (ranging from Pablo Picasso to Jacob Lawrence) but also the depth in which they collected some of them.
Jacques Lipchitz is one such artist and the Kaydens acquired most of their pieces directly from him. While many of the Lipchitz works in the collection are sculptures in bronze, Ploumanach is carved out of ebony which makes it a true standout to me, as we so rarely handle works in this medium. Dr. Kayden notes that Lipchitz himself was initially unwilling to part with it due to its prominence as the only work he had carved with his own hands.
I am always intrigued by works that artists decide to keep for themselves, or are unwilling to part with — what is it about that particular work that gives them pause to hold on to it? Luckily for Dr. Kayden, he was able to convince Lipchitz to entrust him with it and it entered the collection in 1967 after spending just over 40 years under the watchful eye of the man who created it.
Henry Moore (1898-1986), Stringed Figure, conceived in 1939. Bronze with brown patina and red string. Height: 6 ¾ in. (17.1 cm.). Length: 8 in. (20.3 cm.) Estimate: $100,000-150,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 13 November at Christie’s New York
Vanessa Fusco, Head of Works on Paper Sale: I love the juxtaposition of materials in Henry Moore’s Stringed Figure — the texture and bold colour of the strings set against the smooth cool surface of the bronze.
On a cerebral level, I am intrigued by the influence of mathematical models on Moore and other artists working in the 1930s. Moore had seen mathematical models which utilize strings at the Science Museum in London. Such models were also included in a surrealist exhibition in Paris, and Man Ray had taken photographs of mathematical models which were published in the art journal Cahiers d’Art. Man Ray’s photographs explored the sculptural, architectural and three-dimensional characteristics of the models through the use of raking light and extreme shadows, and were widely viewed by Surrealist and Constructivist artists.
Stringed Figure eloquently and compactly demonstrates Moore’s reaction to these models, his preoccupation with the individual sculpted element and its relationship within space, as well as the ways in which the interconnectedness of parts within a single sculpture can be revealed.
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