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Some works sold by Sotheby's

Barbara Hepworth - Makutu

Barbara Hepworth - Makutu

Original 1969
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 1
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Barbara Hepworth 1903 - 1975 MAKUTU Inscribed with the signature Barbara Hepworth, dated 1969 CAST 1970, numbered 1/9 and inscribed with the foundry marks Morris Singer FOUNDERS LONDON Bronze Height with base: 29 3/4 in. 75.6 cm Conceived in 1969 and cast in 1970. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Authentication This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by Sophie Bowness. Provenance Private Collection, United Kingdom (November 1971) Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London (acquired from the above) Private Collection, West Coast (acquired from the above in December 1985 and sold: Christie's, New York, November 4, 2009, lot 289) Acquired at the above sale Hepworth's interest in pagan ritual and totemic forms of her native England influenced much of her sculpture, and the present bronze is an example of how this interest extended even further afield. "Makutu" is the word used by the Mauri people of New Zealand to describe sorcery or the act of bewitching. Hepworth has ascribed that name to this bronze ovoid form, casting it as an object with mystical power. For Makutu, Hepworth drew her inspiration from a variety of aesthetic sources, including the monumental work of her contemporary Henry Moore, as well as the organic and elegant stone carvings of Brancusi and Arp. In the last decade of her life, however, her sculpture more consciously took on subjects that related to human history, culminating in her monumental series The Family of Man. Abstract and decidedly modern, Makutu possesses a distinct beauty and sense of timelessness in its solidity and curvilinear formation. In her aspiration towards universality, Hepworth embraced an abstract mode of expression. Throughout her career she focused much of her attention on the exploration of three basic sculptural structures – two forms, the closed form and the standing form (as represented by the present work). These elemental configurations allowed Hepworth to introduce both figurative and landscape elements, often drawn from her beloved Cornish coastline, into her abstract art. Towards the end of her career, Hepworth wrote about the meaning that she assigned to many of her sculptures: "Working in the abstract way seems to realise one's personality and sharpen the perceptions so that in the observation of humanity or landscape it is the wholeness of inner intention which moves one so profoundly. The components fall into place and one is no longer aware of the detail except as the necessary significance of wholeness and unity [...] a rhythm of form which has its roots in earth but reaches outwards towards the unknown experiences of the figure. The thought underlying this form is, for me, the delicate balance the spirit of man maintains between his knowledge and the laws of the universe" (B. Hepworth, Barbara Hepworth. A Pictorial Autobiography, Bath, 1970, p. 93). The present bronze is number one from an edition of nine casts.
Gustave Baumann - Untitled

Gustave Baumann - Untitled

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 1
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Gustave Baumann 1881-1971 [UNTITLED]; AND THREE COLORS SUPERIMPOSED Two woodcuts printed in colors, the second 1946, the first with the artist's chop mark, each on wove paper (2 prints) first sheet: 356 by 419 mm 13 1/4 by 16 1/2 in second sheet: 335 by 420 mm 13 1/4 by 16 5/8 in Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice The prints are in good condition, with wide (full?) margins. Each print is tipped to the backing board in the top left and right corners. There is a window of pale light-stain in the image. [Untitled]: The verso, with occasional surface soiling and stray ink. Three Colors Superimposed: There is stray ink in the bottom, left and right margins. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
Glenn Ligon - Untitled (i Was Somebody)

Glenn Ligon - Untitled (i Was Somebody)

Original 1990
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 1
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Glenn Ligon B. 1960 UNTITLED (I WAS SOMEBODY) signed, titled and dated 1990 on the reverse oilstick, graphite and gesso on panel 80 x 30 in. 203.2 x 76.2 cm. Executed in 1990/2003. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Regen Projects, Los Angeles Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2004 Exhibited Toronto, The Power Plant; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum; Pittsburgh, The Andy Warhol Museum; Columbus, Wexner Center for the Arts; Luxembourg, Mudam - Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Glenn Ligon: Some Changes, June 2005 - December 2007, p. 135, illustrated in color and pp. 41-42 (text) New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Fort Worth, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Glenn Ligon: AMERICA, March 2011 - May 2012, pl. 25, illustrated in color “Elegance steadies him. The artist’’s superb command of painterly and presentational rhetoric impresses because it has crucial work to do: it gives public poise to private conflict.” Peter Schjeldahl, "Unhidden Identities: A Glenn Ligon Retrospective," The New Yorker, March 21, 2011 Illuminated by raking light, a complex and nuanced articulation of raised letters emerges from a ghostly surface. Starkly elegant, challenging, and rigorously personal, Ligon’’s Untitled (I Was Somebody) from 1990 and 2003 is an extraordinary monument to the existential powers of looking—at art, at society, and at ourselves. Drawing on rhetorical passages from writers who negotiated the prospects of being black in an oppressively white America, such as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston, Ligon’’s paintings bring to the fore through formal and chromatic complexities the realities of racial visibility. Of the just twenty-one door paintings ever produced by the artist, the present work is the only monochromatic example with white text on a white ground, making it a supremely rare paragon of Ligon’’s most acclaimed body of work. Exhibited in both of Ligon’’s major travelling retrospectives to date—including one originating at the Power Plant Gallery in Toronto in 2005 and the most recent at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2011—Untitled (I Was Somebody) is considered one of the most significant paintings by the artist, and represents the pinnacle of Ligon’’s achievements. The door paintings first brought Ligon wide critical praise when three from the series were exhibited in the 1991 Whitney Biennial in New York. The idea to use the readymade wooden panel as a painterly support came to Ligon one day in 1990 while moving a discarded door out of his way in his lower Manhattan studio—the painter became immediately aware of the surface’’s ideal weight and resistance to the pressure of his stencil, and that its predetermined eighty inch tall by thirty inch wide format made it a perfectly scaled referent to the human body for texts that speak in the first person about the body and the self. Priming the surface of the door first with gesso mixed in with marble dust and raw umber Tints-All, Ligon then pressed his oil stick firmly through a stenciled template letter by letter, and line by line. The physically demanding labor involved in the painstaking application of each letter along the length of the door is palpable as the letters begin to lose regularity with exhausted efforts resulting in increased smears and imperfections. Especially against their white ground, the words emerge from and recede into another, teetering on the threshold of legibility. Just as James Baldwin reflected on how Americans have made “an abstraction of the Negro,” here the application of oilstick and gesso on panel combined with the dense overlaying of text create an overall abstraction in relief, its clarity strained in its riveting textural denseness. The anthropomorphic scale of the painting creates the conditions for a profoundly affecting viewing experience, while the dizzying efforts to read the vanishing white-on-white text—with some letters clearly delineated and some gone amok in a massed accumulation of oil-stick—becomes truly unsettling, harnessing the very disquieting racial undertones permeating Ligon’’s work. Defined by a seductive braille-like relief, Ligon’’s painting registers a syncopated rhythm in the repeated phrase that marches across its every line, often stopping short at the right edge and starting anew on the next line. Appropriated from the poem “I Am Somebody,” written in the 1950s by the noted civil rights activist Reverend William Holmes Borders, and made known in its frequent recitations by Reverend Jesse Jackson, Ligon inverted the temporality of the text by replacing ‘am’’ with ‘was.’’ Using a given text but shifting the linguistic pronoun of ‘I’’ to reflect his performance of the quotation, Ligon’’s painting introduces a compelling challenge to the nature of identity: “The work addresses us physically as a body while it forces us to question our sense of our own bodies and those of others. Taken together, his phrases constitute a densely layered, polyphonic response to what it means to be black or white, to be perceived as one or the other, to desire and to frighten, and to be the object of those verbs… Ligon’’ s Door paintings make us wonder afresh what it means to be somebody— to be anybody, really—in relation to somebody or anybody else.” (Scott Rothkopf in Exh. Cat., New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Glenn Ligon: AMERICA, 2011, pp. 29-30) Eminent scholar and curator Darby English described the resounding power of the present work in great detail: “Untitled (I Was Somebody) (1990/2003), a white-on-white-on-white text painting that Ligon repainted in 2003, repeats the subtitled phrase about 150 times. In vivid accord with minimalist thinking about the constant, known shape, the panel mimics the proportions of speaking and hearing, viewing and viewed bodies. But whereas the minimalist object forced the viewer’’s consciousness of perception with a generalized object—the equivalent, in a way, of an abstracted common denominator of subjectivity—Ligon fills the space with discord. The text gradually thickens as it traverses the eighty inches, its texture giving spatial, even atmospheric dimensions to something that the mind knows to be flat (the printed page). But Ligon’’s monochromatic rendering, which effectively empties the already non-contrasting letters of their volume, transforms the affective charge as well as the tense of Jesse Jackson’’s famous pronouncement, usually inflected by the gravelly voiced stentorian as ‘I am—somebody!’’ Were it not for the oil seeping from the original letter forms and forming halos round the newer ones, the dingy white letters would be virtually indistinct from their ground. The words appear to withdraw not only from perception but from the language-form itself, a process that engenders a sharp increase in affect inasmuch as Jackson’’s famous affirmation diminishes into melancholic reverie, and very nearly becomes its own echo.” (Darby English, "Glenn Ligon: Committed to Difficulty" in Exh. Cat., Toronto, The Power Plant (and travelling), Glenn Ligon: Some Changes, 2005, pp. 41-42) Glenn Ligon's artistic output is amongst the crowning achievements of a generation of conceptually motivated artists whose works canvassed social themes of race, sexuality and gender. Working across painting, printmaking, neon sculpture, video, and installation, Ligon explores a complex melding of the visual and textual to invite viewers to contemplate issues of race, sexuality, representation, and language. Harnessing the potent sensory dimension of words akin to Ed Ruscha and Christopher Wool, while exploring rich painterly rhythms of repetition like Cy Twombly and Jasper Johns, Ligon’’s painting draws on a variety of textual and pictorial sources. As content bewitchingly merges with form, the coincident process of reading and looking permeates Ligon’’ s painting, creating a surface rich with affective potential and stunning resonance. Fig. 1 Jasper Johns, White Numbers, 1959 Private Collection / Bridgeman Images Art © 2014 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
 Anonymous - Mannequin Articulé

Anonymous - Mannequin Articulé

Original 1800
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 1
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Mannequin Articulé circa 1800 wood, probably walnut, metal hardware, fully articulating with peg and ball joints and moveable fingers, removable breasts and painted head and face, together with a beechwood chair height: 67 in. 170.2 cm Wooden mannequins, also known as lay figures, have been an ever-present element in artist’’s studios since at least the Renaissance, found in the ateliers of Michelangelo, Titian, Edgar Degas, Giovanni Boldini and Gustave Courbet among countless others. These obliging and indefatigable models were used to study the figure, with its skeleton and musculature abstracted into geometric forms, and, perhaps more commonly, to recreate the drape of clothing or fabric and the resulting fall of light and shadow over the human form; in fact, the verb “manniquer” first appears in eighteenth century France and is used to describe the act of artfully draping cloth over a mannequin to a natural effect (Jane Munro, Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, October 14 2014 – January 25, 2015, exh. cat. p. 28). By the end of the eighteenth-century, demand from artists for accurately proportioned and fully articulating figures was so great that mannequin–makers went to ingenious and extraordinary lengths in order to engineer objects that are works of art in themselves. These mannequins range in size from six inches to more than life-size, and served a variety of purposes. Early surviving sixteenth and seventeenth century wooden articulated figures, almost all of which are German and Austrian and referred to as Gliederpuppe, were intricately carved to a high degree of finish and likely intended for display in a Kunstkammer (cabinet of curiosities) to reflect the “perfect human form”. As a tool in the artist’’s arsenal, however, mannequins were hidden from view and rarely, if ever, included in representations of the artist’’s studio – their presence hinting at the laborious act of painting and diminishing the perception of the artist as inspired genius (Munro, p. 2). By the nineteenth-century, when the present mannequin was likely produced, Paris was home to the leading ateliers producing the most elaborate and lifelike mannequins articulés. Built around a clever skeleton of wood peg and ball joints and metal fasteners which can be posed in multitude ways (fig. 1), the body of these mannequins was most often soft and shaped out of horsehair, wax, silk, cotton and painted papier-maché. In the present model, hardwood has been beautifully hand-planed and defines the musculature of the body, evident in the calves, forearms, the naturalistic rib cage with its clavicles and neck muscles clearly rendered, overlapping the pelvis to hide mechanical elements beneath and creating a rare naturalistic effect. Also unique are the classically proportioned and serene painted face, implying that the mannequin is of French origin, and the removable breasts which allow it to play the role of either gender. This tactile simulation of the human body has a startling and sensory effect, even on present-day viewers. Certainly, the distinctly gendered Gliederpuppe, with their carefully rendered anatomy, imply an erotic appeal for collectors, while twentieth century and contemporary artists have treated mannequins as subjects rather than stand-ins (Munro, p. 35-6). Indeed, Surrealist artists like Salvador Dali, Giorgio Di Chirico, Hans Bellmar and Man Ray all exploited this subject to create potent narratives and amplify the psychological friction in their work, a tradition continued by the prosthetics of Cindy Sherman and Jake and Dinos Chapman. The present mannequin articulé is a rare and exceptional example of an essential component of the nineteenth century artist’’s studio, and yet it transcends its functionality and compels reflection on how images are constructed and the body is represented. We would like to extend special thanks to Marion Harris, New York, for her kind assistance in cataloguing this lot. Fig. 1 Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’’’’Alembert, Mannequin and Developmens du Mannequin (1763, Cambridge University Library) Fig. 2 Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’’’’Alembert, Mannequin and Developmens du Mannequin (1763, Cambridge University Library) This mannequin exhibits scattered scratches, dents and patina consistent with age and use, as well as minor, scattered old worm damage. There are small chips to the extreme edges, the largest loss being to the proper left shoulder, and a smaller loss in the back of the neck, and break in the proper left leg, inherent to the grain of the wood. The proper left foot was possibly added later, and the ball joint of the right hip is probably newer. This work is sold together with a pine chair, probably French circa 18th Century, with shows wear consistent with age. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
Henry Moret - Lande Bretagne

Henry Moret - Lande Bretagne

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 102
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Henry Moret 1856 - 1913 LANDE BRETAGNE Oil on canvas 19 3/4 by 28 3/4 in. 50.2 by 73 cm Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Authentication This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné being prepared by Jean-Yves Rolland. Provenance Private Collection, France The canvas is unlined. The pigments are bright and fresh and the impasto has been well preserved. Extremely faint stretcher marks run vertically through the center of the composition. A few fine lines of craquelure are faintly visible scattered in the sky and one running vertically through the mountain at center. There is one extremely minor flake of pigment lost to the top center edge but the surface is otherwise stable. Under UV light: no inpainting is apparent though certain original pigments fluoresce and a masking layer of varnish is difficult to read through. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
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current week's auction

Place Date Artworks Works at Auction
London
October 28, 2014
17
London
October 29, 2014
126
New York
October 29, 2014
47
New York
October 29, 2014
23
New York
October 30, 2014
432
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