DETAIL : COLOGNE SCHOOL Germany Virgin and Child with Saints [Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel) Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel)]
Introduction | American Art | European Art | Provenance Research
NGA HOME | SEARCH | PRINTVIEW | PREVIOUS
© Restricted
78214
Nikolaus
LANG
6 drawing samples of earth
 
Nikolaus LANG
Germany born 1941
6 drawing samples of earth
panel of six c.1978-79
earth samples and egg tempera on paper
Gerard GAROUSTE
France born 1946
Still life [La Nature Morte] 1982-83
oil on canvas
Fernand LÉGER
France 1881 – 1955
USA 1940-45
View Biography
Les Trapézistes
[Trapeze artists]
1954
oil on canvas
Arthur HACKER
Great Britain 1858 – 1919
Seated girl 1906
oil on canvas
Jean TINGUELY
Switzerland 1925-05-22 – 1991-08-30
France
View Biography
Méta-mécanique (Méta-Herbin) 1954
painted steel and electric motor
Matteo de' PASTI
Italy 1441 – 1467/1468
View Biography
Portrait of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (obverse);
Fortitude, seated on two elephants (reverse) c.1449-55
Metalwork
bronze
Jean-Antoine HOUDON
France 1741 – 1828
Buste de jeune fille
[Bust of a girl]
[Buste de jeune fille] 1791
marble
Gianlorenzo BERNINI
Italy 1598 – 1680
Sant' Agnese
[St Agnes]
c.1659-72
bronze
Shusaku Arakawa
Japan born 1936
United States of America from 1961
View Biography
Tubes 1965
synthetic polymer paint, fibre-tipped pen, pencil, crayon, ink and canvas collage on canvas
Nigel HALL
Great Britain born 1943
View Biography
Green minus 1975
painted aluminium
David GILHOOLY
United States of America born 1943
The pillar of frog civilization 1975
glazed earthenware
Josef ALBERS
Germany 1888 – United States of America 1976
United States of America from 1925
View Biography
Homage to the square: on an early sky 1964
oil on composition board
oil on composition board
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Flexible sculpture
from Three flexible sculptures 1977
coloured string and thread on wire, metal base
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Flexible sculpture
from Three flexible sculptures 1977
coloured string and thread on wire, metal base
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Flexible sculpture
from Three flexible sculptures 1977
coloured string and thread, metal base
Joseph CORNELL
United States of America 1903 – 1972
View Biography
Untitled (Hôtel du Cygne)
[Swan Hotel]
c.1950-52
box construction
Gillian AYRES
Great Britain born 1930
To thy wild waves play 1986
oil on canvas
Sol LEWITT
Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America born 1928
View Biography
Cubic modular piece no. 3 1968
synthetic polymer paint on steel
Wolfgang LAIB
Germany born 1950
Milk stone 1980
marble and milk
Mel KENDRICK
United States of America born 1949
Tom Thumb's blues (1980)
synthetic polymer paint on wood
Chuck CLOSE
United States of America born 1940
View Biography
Bob 1970
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Nigel HALL
Great Britain born 1943
View Biography
Trinity 1978
painted aluminium
Marcel DUCHAMP
France 1887 – 1968
also worked in United States of America
View Biography
Bottle dryer [Bottle rack] 1914 reconstructed 1964
galvanised iron bottle dryer
no. 2 from an edition of 8
2/8
editioned by Galleria Schwarz, Milan, 1964, authorised and signed by the artist
Nigel HALL
Great Britain born 1943
View Biography
Canberra (large) 1982
painted aluminium
attributed to Niccolò FIORENTINO
Italy 1430 – 1514
View Biography
Portrait of Lodovico Luti of Siena (obverse);
Fortune with sail on a dolphin, watched by ermine (reverse) c.1498
Metalwork
bronze
John AHEARN
United States of America born 1951
Steve Brown 1979
synthetic polymer paint on cast plaster
Marcel DUCHAMP
France 1887 – 1968
also worked in United States of America
View Biography
Boîte-en-valise
[The box in a valise]
1942-54
cardboard and wooden box containing replicas and reproductions of works by Duchamp
edition of 300
Pierre DUNOYER
France born 1949
(Tableau)
painting 1980
synthetic polymer paint and modelling paste on canvas
Peter BÖMMELS
Germany born 1951
Die Entlarvungsstation
[The station of revealing]
1984
acrylic polymer paint, oil crayon and shellac on nettle cloth
Enrico BAJ
Italy 1924 – 2003
France
View Biography
Elisabeta de Bragance de la Felidad Garcia [Elisabeta de Bragança or Braganza de la Felidad Garcia] 1964
silver gilt, oil, with collage of sisal, silk, cotton, crystal and glass on composition board
Henri GAUDIER-BRZESKA
St Jean-de-Braye, France 1891 – France 1915
England from 1907, France 1909-10, and 1914-15
View Biography
L'Oiseau de feu
[Firebird]
1912
plaster with black paint
three plaster casts were made from the original clay sculpture, one of which was sent to the Parlanti Foundry, Parsons Green, to serve as the mould for the bronze; the location of the other two plaster is not known Raymond Drey had three bronzes cast from the plaster c.1914 - 1918 Leicester Galleries had a further six bronzes made after 1918
MAN RAY
United States of America 1890 – France 1976
View Biography
The enigma of Isidore Ducasse 1920 reconstructed 1971
object wrapped in felt and string
no. 8 of an edition of 10
Penrose ill.45, Schwartz ill.283, Sers cat.27
MAN RAY
United States of America 1890 – France 1976
View Biography
Pain peint
[Blue bread: favourite food for bluebirds]
[Blue Bred: Favourite Food for Blue Birds. (cf. Schwartz p. 199) Pain Peint]
Pain peint [Painted bread] 1958
painted plaster `bread' and metal scales
Penrose ill.XX (p.184), Schwartz ill. 322
Natvar BHAVSAR
India born 1934-04-07
to United States of America 1962
View Biography
SHA-DHA 1970
dry pigment and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Marcel DUCHAMP
France 1887 – 1968
also worked in United States of America
View Biography
Why not sneeze Rose Sélavy? 1921 reconstructed 1964
painted metal bird-cage, marble cubes, thermometer and cuttlebone
no. 4 from an edition of 8
4/8
editioned by Galleria Schwarz, Milan, 1964, authorised and signed by the artist
Joseph CORNELL
United States of America 1903 – 1972
View Biography
Untitled c.1950
box construction
Joseph CORNELL
United States of America 1903 – 1972
View Biography
Les caprices de Gizelle
[Gizelle's caprices]
1947
box construction
Medardo ROSSO
Italy 1858 – 1928
View Biography
Petite rieuse
[Laughing woman]
1890
wax on plaster
George CLAUSEN
Great Britain 1852 – 1944
travelled frequently to France after c.1875
Sunlight and shadow [The hayrick] after 1880
oil on canvas
Lucian FREUD
Germany born 1922
Great Britain from 1932
View Biography
After Cézanne 1999-2000
oil on canvas
Craig JUDD
Australia born 1957
Marriana Barbieri-Nini 1984
synthetic polymer paint on paper
Stephen BUCKLEY
Great Britain born 1944
View Biography
Untitled 1980
oil on composition board
Hans HARTUNG
Germany 1904 – France 1990
France
View Biography
T-1954-20 1954
oil on canvas
Mark BOYLE
Great Britain born 1934
Joan HILLS
born 1931
Cobbles study from the Lorry park series
the Lorry Park series 1976
stones, mud, nails, paper clip, washer, glass, iron
on 'Epikote' (plastic) reinforced with fibreglass
Robyn DENNY
Great Britain born 1930
View Biography
S14 [Untitled] 1960
oil on canvas
Nigel HALL
Great Britain born 1943
View Biography
On the other hand 1978
painted aluminium
Allan RAMSAY and studio
born 1713/1784
King George III in coronation robes (c.1766)
oil on canvas
James BISHOP
United States of America born 1927
View Biography
Untitled [Stone] 1969
oil on canvas
Paule VÉZELAY
Great Britain 1892 – 1984
also worked in France
Lines in space no. 4 [Lines in space no.4 (Ficelles tendus)] 1936
construction with threads and collage
Constantin BRANCUSI
Romania 1876 – France 1957
View Biography
L'oiseau dans l'espace
[Bird in space]
c.1931-1936
white marble, limestone 'collar', sandstone base
Constantin BRANCUSI
Romania 1876 – France 1957
View Biography
L'oiseau dans l'espace
[Bird in space]
c.1931-1936
black marble, white marble 'collar', sandstone base
Francis BACON
Ireland 1909 – Spain 1992
worked in Great Britain
View Biography
Triptych 1970
oil on canvas
Sonia DELAUNAY
Ukraine 1885 – France 1979
View Biography
Dubonnet 1914
distemper on canvas
Rosemarie TROCKEL
Germany born 1952
Balaklava
[6/10]
1986
knitted wool balaklava in cardboard box
wool, cardboard
edition of 10 of 5 versions
6/10
edition each of i) swastica, ii) Playboy bunny, iii) hammer and sickle, iv) waves and v) plus and minus signs
Don VAN VLIET
United States born 1941
Fire party for Boomerang man with wrought iron curls 1984
oil, synthetic polymer paint, charcoal on wood panel
David BUDD
United States of America 1927 – 1991
Surface and sound 1972
oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Erich BUCHHOLZ
Germany 1891 – 1972
View Biography
ZR7 1953
painted plaster relief
Rainer FETTING
Germany born 1949
Zwei Indianer
[Two Indians]
1982
distemper on canvas
Salvador DALÍ
Spain 1904 – 1989
United States of America 1940-48
View Biography
Lobster telephone [Aphrodisiac telephone] 1936
painted plaster, telephone
Arshile GORKY
Turkey (Armenia) 1904 – United States of America 1948
View Biography
Plumage landscape 1947
oil on canvas
Roy LICHTENSTEIN
United States of America 1923 – 1997
View Biography
Kitchen range [Kitchen stove] 1961-62
oil on canvas
oil on canvas
Andy WARHOL
United States of America 1928/1930 – 1987
View Biography
Electric chair 1967
synthetic polymer paint screenprinted onto canvas
synthetic polymer paint screenprinted onto canvas
Mark ROTHKO
Latvia 1903 – United States of America 1970
View Biography
1957 # 20 [Black,brown on maroon' or 'Deep red and black' are alternative titles'] 1957
oil on canvas
Jackson POLLOCK
United States of America 1912 – 1956
View Biography
Blue poles [Number 11, 1952] 1952
enamel and aluminium paint with glass on canvas
OT 367
Christian BOLTANSKI
France born 1944
Pourim réserve
[Purim reserve]
1989
Installation
gelatin silver photographs, wall lights, tin biscuit boxes and white linen
8 gelatin silver photographs, 8 tin biscuit boxes, 8 lamps, white linen.
Mark ROTHKO
Latvia 1903 – United States of America 1970
View Biography
Multiform 1948
oil on canvas
Bruce NAUMAN
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths (Window or wall sign) 1967
fluorescent tubes
MDF backing board 1650mm x 1650mm
number 1 from an edition of 3, plus Artist's Proof
others from the edition are in the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, and the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel
Reuben NAKIAN
United States of America 1897 – 1986
View Biography
Europa and the bull 1949
terracotta
Robert NATKIN
United States born 1930
View Biography
Beatrice 1964
oil on canvas
Lucas SAMARAS
Greece born 1936
to United States of America 1948
View Biography
Box no. 54 1966
coloured wool and synthetic polymer paint on wood
Lucas SAMARAS
Greece born 1936
to United States of America 1948
View Biography
Box no. 68 1968
synthetic polymer paint on wood
Lucas SAMARAS
Greece born 1936
to United States of America 1948
View Biography
Box no. 85 1973
pins and stones on cardboard
Lucas SAMARAS
Greece born 1936
to United States of America 1948
View Biography
Reconstruction no. 74 1979
sewn fabric
Lucas SAMARAS
Greece born 1936
to United States of America 1948
View Biography
Winged man with head on knee 1980
gold plated cast bronze
no. 3 from an edition of 3 (1/3 bronze painted white; 2/3 silver plated bronze; 3/3 gold plated bronze)
3/3
Lucas SAMARAS
Greece born 1936
to United States of America 1948
View Biography
Winged woman with three arms 1980
gold plated cast bronze
no. 3 from an edition of 3 (1/3 & 2/3 silver plated bronze; 3/3 gold plated bronze)
3/3
Tery FUGATE-WILCOX
United States of America born 1944
View Biography
3,500 A.D. (Cu & C) 1972
copper and carbon
Tery FUGATE-WILCOX
United States of America born 1944
View Biography
2,500 A.D. (Blued steel & brass) 1974
blued steel and brass
Robert MOTHERWELL
United States of America 1915 – 1991
View Biography
Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Enrico BAJ
Italy 1924 – 2003
France
View Biography
General 1961
oil with collage of sisal, silk, wool, glass, cotton, enamel, wood an various metals
Antoine Louis BARYE
France 1795 – 1875
Cheval attaqué par un tigre
[Horse attacked by a tiger]
1837 or before
bronze
at least five other casts
cast after 1875, possibly by Susse Foundry, Paris
Michael CRAIG-MARTIN
Ireland born 1941
United States of America 1945-1966 to Great Britain 1966
On the shelf
On the shelf: fifteen milk bottles containing water, on a metal shelf supported on brackets (1971)
glass bottles, water, metal shelf and brackets
no.1 from an edition of 3
Milton AVERY
United States of America 1893 – 1965
View Biography
Artist's wife 1944
oil on canvas
Dan FLAVIN
United States of America 1933 – 1996
View Biography
monument to V. Tatlin ['Monument' for V. Tatlin no.30] 1966-69
fluorescent tubes on metal fittings
no.3 from an edition of 5
David GILHOOLY
United States of America born 1943
Mao Tse Toad II 1976
glazed earthenware
David GILHOOLY
United States of America born 1943
Victoria's royal snack 1978
glazed earthenware
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Number 2 from Tubes à essai
[Test tubes]
1977
Assemblage
glass tube, coloured threads, wire, glass, pen and ink and plastic film
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Number 6 from Tubes à essai
[Test tubes]
1977
Assemblage
glass tube, wire, coloured threads, hair, tempera, synthetic polymer and plastic film
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Number 7 from Tubes à essai
[Test tubes]
1977
Assemblage
glass tube, wire, coloured threads, hair, tempera, synthetic polymer glass and plastic film
Stephen BUCKLEY
Great Britain born 1944
View Biography
Untitled 1979
oil on canvas on board
Mark BOYLE
Great Britain born 1934
Joan HILLS, collaborator
born 1931
Earth study: Study of a dried-up watercourse, Tanami Desert, Central Australia [Earth Study: from "Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia. Study of a dried-up watercourse, Tanami Desert, Central A]
Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia 1979
earth, mud, fibre-glass, wood
Michael CRAIG-MARTIN
Ireland born 1941
United States of America 1945-1966 to Great Britain 1966
An oak tree (1973)
glass of water, glass shelf, chrome brackets, printed text
James BROWN
United States of America born 1951
View Biography
Study for Terrae Motus 1982
synthetic polymer paint and pencil on canvas and wooden frame
David GILHOOLY
United States of America born 1943
Two toad sloth 1978
glazed earthenware
Robert MORRIS
United States of America born 1931
View Biography
Untitled 1969
felt
Ted KURAHARA
United States of America born 1925
White square in black
diptych 1980
synthetic polymer paint, pencil, charcoal on paper
Ted KURAHARA
United States of America born 1925
White cross in black square 1980
charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper
Joseph BEUYS
Germany 1921 – 1986
Ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, nee, nee, nee, nee, nee
[Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no, no, no, no, no]
1969
Multiple
felt squares, 32 minute audiotape,
recording
Edition of 100
45/100
Documented and illustrated in J. Schellmann, Joseph Beuys: the multiples (Munich: Edition Schellmann, 1997) p. 431
Joseph BEUYS
Germany 1921 – 1986
Painting version 1-90
#80 from a series of 90 different originals 1976
Multiple
oil paint and butter on paper
BFK Rives wove paper
Edition of 90
80/90
Edition of 90, with small number of artist's copies, including 12 without inscriptions, and with estate stamp
Documented and illustrated in J. Schellmann, Joseph Beuys: the multiples (Munich: Edition Schellmann, 1997) pp. 454-55, pp. 513
Choong-Sup LIM
Korea born 1941
United States of America from 1973
Blebs 1992
wood, metal, Perspex, film
positive photographic transparency on film
Max GIMBLETT
New Zealand born 1935
United States of America from 1974
The Master said tears 1990
oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
linen and cotton duck
Max GIMBLETT
New Zealand born 1935
United States of America from 1974
For David and Margery Edwards 1988-90
Drawing
synthetic polymer paint, metallic pigment
Arches paper
Artist unknown
Germany? Great Britain? born 1750/1950
Scenes from the Passion of Christ [Scenes from the Passion diptych]
after Diptych with scenes of the passion of Christ c.1360-70, France (Paris), elephant ivory 25.5 cm (height), Victoria and Albert Museum (291.1867) mid-19th century
diptych: ivory, brass, nails
Charlotte ARDIZZONE
Great Britain born 1943
View Biography
Wrapping up Christmas presents 1969
oil on canvas
James DOOLIN
United States of America 1932 – 2002
Australia 1965-67
Artificial landscape 67-6 1967
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Michael ANDREWS
Great Britain 1928 – 1995
View Biography
Good and bad at games 1964-68
synthetic polymer ink and oil on canvas
screenprint and oil on canvas
commercially prepared linen canvas
Shusaku Arakawa
Japan born 1936
United States of America from 1961
View Biography
Out of distance / Out of texture [Distance of point blank B] 1978
synthetic polymer paint, fibre-tipped pen and canvas collage on canvas
Artist unknown
Great Britain born 1400/1550
Book of Hours (Sarum use) [Book of Hours] mid-15th century
ink, gold on vellum
Frank AUERBACH
Germany born 1931
to Great Britain 1939
View Biography
View from Primrose Hill 1962
oil on composition board
Georg BASELITZ
Germany born 1938
View Biography
St Michael 1983
oil on canvas
attributed to Jules BASTIEN-LEPAGE
France 1848 – 1884
View Biography
(Young peasant woman) c.1882
oil on canvas
Natvar BHAVSAR
India born 1934-04-07
to United States of America 1962
View Biography
E-JNA 1970
dry pigment and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Frank BRANGWYN
Belgium 1867 – Great Britain 1956
England from 1875, with regular visits to Europe
Fruit sellers c.1885-1900
oil on canvas
Erich BUCHHOLZ
Germany 1891 – 1972
View Biography
ZR 24 1952-53
watercolour on plaster
Erich BUCHHOLZ
Germany 1891 – 1972
View Biography
Planetenbahnen
[Orbits of the planets]
[Orbits of the planets (Planetenbahnen)] 1920
painted wood
Mo Buchholz & Roters 98
Alexander CALDER
United States of America 1898-07-22 – 1976-11-11
also worked in France
View Biography
La Bobine
[Bobbin]
1970
painted steel
Albert CARRIER-BELLEUSE
France 1824 – 1887
Venus disarming Cupid [Cupid disarmed (L'Amour désarmé)] before 1869
terracotta
CÉSAR
France 1921 – 1998
View Biography
Compression 1960
steel
Francesco CLEMENTE
Italy born 1952
also works in the United States of America
Three in one 1981
fresco
Francesco CLEMENTE
Italy born 1952
also works in the United States of America
Young woman 1981
fresco
Francesco CLEMENTE
Italy born 1952
also works in the United States of America
Diego Cortez (1981)
fresco
Francesco CLEMENTE
Italy born 1952
also works in the United States of America
Give, wait 1981
fresco
Francesco CLEMENTE
Italy born 1952
also works in the United States of America
Queen of the heavens 1985
oil and tempera on canvas
Luca GIORDANO
Italy 1634 – 1705
View Biography
Il ratto delle Sabine
[The rape of the Sabine women]
[The rape of the Sabine women [Ratto delle Sabine]] c.1672-74
oil on canvas
1966, vol.2, p.386; 1992, p.60, 288-289 no. A228D, Pl. XXXII
Artist unknown
Italy (Ferrara) born 1400/1600
Pietà [Pieta] c.1470
painted wood
COLOGNE SCHOOL
Germany  
Virgin and Child with Saints [Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel) Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel)]
Virgin and Child with Saints
Triptych of the Madonna and Child with saints and angel musicians within a hortus conclusus (central panel) Emperor Charlemagne, St Helena and donor (left-hand shutter panel) St Peter and St Margaret (right-hand shutter panel) c.1510-20
oil on three oak panels
twelve oak planks, assembled with the grain running vertically wings three planks with two vertical joints; central six planks
Enzo CUCCHI
Italy born 1950
Il vento dei galli neri
[The wind of the black cocks]
[Il vento dei galli neri] 1983
oil on canvas
Mark DI SUVERO
China born 1933
to United States of America 1941
View Biography
Ik ook [Ik Ook.] 1971-72
painted steel
Jim DINE
United States of America born 1935
View Biography
The Crommelynck Gate (Hiroshima Clock) 1984
synthetic polymer paint on canvas with wooden strips
Martin DRÖLLING
France 1752 – 1817
View Biography
Joseph Merceron, avocat au Parlement de Paris
[Joseph Merceron, lawyer to the Paris Parliament]
1791
oil on canvas
Jean-Germain DROUAIS
France 1763 – Italy 1788
Study for Marius prisonnier à Minturnae
[Marius imprisoned at Minturno]
[Marius Prisonnier a Minternes] 1785
oil on paper on canvas
Ger van ELK
The Netherlands born 1941
Seven Cubist mouth piece 1979
type C photograph and synthetic polymer paint, clay
Helmut FEDERLE
Switzerland born 1944
Delirious acceptance (The so-called many) 2003
synthetic polymer paint on linen
Dan FLAVIN
United States of America 1933 – 1996
View Biography
untitled (for Robert, with fond regards)
Untitled (for Robert with fond regards) 1977
fluorescent tubes
no. 2 from an edition of 3
Helen FRANKENTHALER
United States of America born 1928
View Biography
Other generations 1957
oil on canvas
oil on canvas
Franz GERTSCH
Switzerland born 1930
Saint Guilhem 1972
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
David GILHOOLY
United States of America born 1943
The ten commandments 1974
glazed earthenware
David GILHOOLY
United States of America born 1943
Turned on by confiscated erotic moose pottery (1977)
glazed earthenware, wood
Philip GUSTON
Canada 1913 – United States of America 1980
to United States of America 1919
View Biography
Pit 1976
oil on canvas
Eva HESSE
Germany 1936 – United States of America 1970
United States of America from 1939
View Biography
Contingent 1969
cheesecloth, latex, fibreglass
David HOCKNEY
Great Britain born 1937
working in the United States of America
View Biography
A Bigger Grand Canyon [A bigger Grand Canyon] 1998
oil on sixty canvases
Bernard JOUBERT
France born 1946
Untitled [Untitled (White over orange, yellow, blue, red and navy)] 1980
gouache on ribbon
Ellsworth KELLY
United States of America born 1923
View Biography
Orange curve [Orange white] 1964-65
oil on canvas
Anselm KIEFER
Germany born 1945
View Biography
The secret life of plants
[La vie secrète des plantes]
2002
lead, oil, chalk, pigment
Anselm KIEFER
Germany born 1945
View Biography
Twilight of the West [Abendland] 1989
lead sheet, synthetic polymer paint, ash, plaster, cement, earth, varnish on canvas and wood
Leon KOSSOFF
Great Britain born 1926
View Biography
Christ Church Spitalfields, Summer 1990-93
oil on board
Leon KOSSOFF
Great Britain born 1926
View Biography
Dalston Junction with Ridley Road street market, Friday evening, November, 1972 1972
oil on composition board
Jannis KOUNELLIS
Greece born 1936
Italy from 1956
Senza titolo
[Untitled]
1990
three steel panels, clothes and beams
Morris LOUIS
United States of America 1912 – 1962
View Biography
Beta Nu 1960
synthetic polymer paint on unprimed canvas
Elizabeth MAGILL
Canada born 1959
Overhead (2) 2000
oil on canvas
Henri MATISSE
France 1869 – 1954
View Biography
Océanie, le ciel
[Oceania, the sky]
[Oceanie, le ciel [Oceania, the sky]] 1946
screenprint on linen
stencil
linen
no.3 of an edition of 30
Mario MERZ
Italy 1925 – 2003
also worked Australia
Fibonacci numbers
Fibonacci numbers 1979
synthetic polymer paint and metallic paint on canvas, branches, glass and fluorescent tubes
Henry MOORE
Great Britain 1898 – 1986
View Biography
Hill arches 1973
bronze
no.4 from an edition of 4
Elie NADELMAN
Poland 1882 – United States of America 1946
also worked in France
View Biography
Horse c.1911-15
plaster
Augustin PAJOU
France 1730 – 1809
Antoine-Louis-Francois Viel de Lunas, Marquis d'Espeuilles 1794
painted plaster
Mimmo PALADINO
Italy born 1948
Untitled 1985
synthetic polymer paint on carved limestone
Mimmo PALADINO
Italy born 1948
Poeta all'ombra
[Poet in the shade]
[Poeta all'ombra] 1980
oil, tempera, paper pulp and gesso on three canvas panels
Mimmo PALADINO
Italy born 1948
Scorticato
[Flayed]
[Flayed [Scorticato]] 1986
wood, branches, charcoal and oil paint on canvas
Ennemond-Alexandre PETITOT, designer
France 1727 – Italy 1801
Jean-Baptiste BOUDARD, sculptor
France 1710 – Italy 1768
Gran' vasi di Palazzo Ducale, Parma
[Large vases from the Ducal Palace, Parma]

two vases, each in three sections with bases c.1765-68
marble
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Publicon - Station I 1978
enamel on wood, collaged laminated silk and cotton, gold leafed paddle, light bulb, perspex, enamel on polished aluminium
one of an edition of 30
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Publicon - Station IV 1978
enamel on wood construction, collaged laminated silk and cotton, bicycle wheel, fluorescent light fixture, perspex, enamel on polished aluminium
one of an edition of 30
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Publicon - Station V 1978
enamel on wood and aluminium construction, collaged laminated silk and cotton, mirrors, lightbulb, metal chain and brick, enamel on polished aluminium
one of an edition of 30
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Publicon - Station II 1978
enamel on wood and aluminium construction, collaged laminated silk and cotton, enamel on polished aluminium
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Publicon - Station III 1978
enamel on wood construction, collaged laminated silk and cotton, steel, mirror extenders, enamel on polished aluminium
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Publicon - Station VI 1978
enamel on wood, laminated textiles, enamelled metal and metal bot tops
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Nude study for Jean d'Aire
for The burghers of Calais 1885-86 cast 1973
bronze
no.3 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
3/12
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Eustache de Saint Pierre [Eustache de Saint Pierre]
from The burghers of Calais 1885-86 cast 1984
bronze
no.1 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
I/IV
no.1 from an edition of 12 (1-4 reserved for cultural institutions)
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Andrieu d'Andres
from The burghers of Calais c.1886 cast 1985
bronze
no.1 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
I/IV
no. 1 from an edition of 12 (1-4 reserved for cultural institutions)
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Nude study for Jean de Fiennes
for The burghers of Calais c.1885-86 cast 1967
bronze
no. 1 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
1/12
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Pierre de Wiessant
from The burghers of Calais c.1885-86 cast 1974
bronze
no.1 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
1/12
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Jean d'Aire [also known as Jean d'Aire, final version or Jean d'Aire, clothed (Jean d'Aire, vêtu)] c.1885-86 cast 1974
bronze
no.7 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
7/12
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Nude study of Eustache de Saint Pierre for the Burghers of Calais [also known as Nude study of Eustache de Saint-Pierre 1885 or Nude study for Eustache de Saint-Pierre (as an older man) or Eustache de Saint-Pierre: nude study after Pignatelli 1886-87] 1885 cast 1972
bronze
no. 9 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
c.1974
Peter Paul RUBENS
Germany (Westphalia) 1577 – Belgium (Flanders) 1640
also worked in Spain
Self-portrait 1623
oil on canvas
Edwin RUDA
United States of America born 1922
View Biography
Ormolu 1971
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Joel SHAPIRO
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
Untitled (chair) 1974
bronze
Robert STACKHOUSE
United States of America born 1942-07-31
View Biography
On the beach again [Mountain climber on the beach again]
preliminary drawing for sculpture "On the beach again" 1984
bronze
Jana STERBAK
Czechoslovakia born 1955
born Prague to Canada 1968
Trichotilomania I 1993-96
glass and human hair, stainless steel table
no.2 from an edition of 3
2/3
Salla TYKKÄ
Helsinki, Finland born 1973
Cave trilogy (Lasso, Thriller, Cave) 2000-03
Installation
Video projection/ 35 mm film transferred to video (colour, sound, 20:47 minutes)
Digital Betacam
7/7
Richard VAN BUREN
United States of America born 1937
View Biography
For Najeeb 1972
polyester resin, fibreglass, pigments and glitter
Bill VIOLA
United States of America born 1951
Interval
two channels of colour video projections from opposite walls of a large, darkened gallery; custom video switching program; two channels of amplified mono sound, four speakers 1995
Installation
two channel, video projection (computer controlled, colour, sound), speakers
edition of 2 plus A/P
1/2
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Number 3 from Tubes à essai
[Test tubes]
1977
Assemblage
glass tube, twigs, coloured threads, synthetic polymer paint, glass, ink, plastic film
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Number 5 from Tubes à essai
[Test tubes]
1977
Assemblage
glass tube, wire, coloured threads, tempera, synthetic polymer paint, glass, plastic film
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Number 4 from Tubes à essai
[Test tubes]
1977
Assemblage
glass tube, twigs, synthetic polymer paint, glass, coloured threads, tempera, hair, plastic film
Daniel DEZEUZE
France born 1942
Untitled [Sans titre] 1977
stained wood
Jules DALOU
France 1838 – 1902
View Biography
Hunter with his dog [also known as Meleager] 1898
painted plaster
Allan RAMSAY and studio
born 1713/1784
Queen Charlotte in coronation robes (c.1766)
oil on canvas
Artist unknown
Italy (Rome?) born 1600/1800
St John the Evangelist c.1680
bronze
Antonio ABONDIO
Italy 1538 – Austria 1591
View Biography
Portrait of Faustina Romana (obverse);
Leda and the swan (reverse) 1550s
Metalwork
bronze
John AHEARN
United States of America born 1951
Unknown (1980)
synthetic polymer paint on cast plaster
Stevan MCKEOWN
United States of America born 1947
View Biography
Hill-deck (1978)
oil on wood
Bernard BAZILE
France born 1952
Number 1 from Tubes à essai
[Test tubes]
1977
Assemblage
glass tube, wood, coloured threads, plastic film, synthetic polymer paint and dyed lichen
James DOOLIN
United States of America 1932 – 2002
Australia 1965-67
Artificial landscape #10
(arched-top) 1969
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Artist unknown
Italy (Rome?) born 1600/1800
Virgin Mary c.1680
bronze
Richard BOSMAN
India born 1944
to Netherlands 1946; to Indonesia 1947; to Egypt 1947; to Australia 1951; to Egypt 1952; to Britain 1954; to Australia 1958; to Britain 1966; to USA 1969
Rescue 1983
oil on canvas
Artist unknown
Great Britain born 1750/1950
Richard the Lionheart [Ivory carving of Richard the Lion Heart in an ivory niche (Gothic copy?)]
figure in a niche (Gothic copy?) c.1860?
ivory
Richard BOSMAN
India born 1944
to Netherlands 1946; to Indonesia 1947; to Egypt 1947; to Australia 1951; to Egypt 1952; to Britain 1954; to Australia 1958; to Britain 1966; to USA 1969
Drowning man 1983
oil on canvas
after Vladimir TATLIN
Ukraine 1885 – Russia 1953
reconstructed by Martyn CHALK, producer
Great Britain born 1945
Corner counter-relief c.1915
iron, wood
Bernard JOUBERT
France born 1946
Untitled [Untitled (wall-corner-floor piece)] 1979
gouache on ribbon
Ray PARKER
United States of America 1922 – 1990
View Biography
Untitled 1979
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Bernard JOUBERT
France born 1946
Untitled [Untitled (Coloured)] 1980
gouache on ribbon
Bernard JOUBERT
France born 1946
Untitled [Untitled (Red and green)] 1980
gouache on ribbon
Craig JUDD
Australia born 1957
Amphritite 1984
oil paint on paper
Robert BARRY
United States of America born 1936
View Biography
Somehow 1976
projection of 81 35mm slides on a wall
Apollonio de' BONFRATELLI
Italy (Rome) 1480/1520 – Italy 1575
Pietà (recto);
Script and music (verso) [Manuscript (fragment: Pieta [recto]; Script and music [verso])]
leaf of a Latin missal (Pietà [recto]; Script and music [verso]); five lines in Italian rounded gothic liturgical hand and five lines of music notation on a four-line stave in red ink; from the common preface to the cannon of the Mass c.1545
tempera, gold [recto]; ink [verso]
vellum
Mark BOYLE
Great Britain born 1934
Joan HILLS, collaborator
born 1931
Earth study: Study of a dried-up watercourse, Tanami Desert, Central Australia [Earth Study: from "Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia. Study of a dried-up watercourse, Tanami Desert, Central A]
Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia 1979
earth, mud, fibre-glass, wood
Mark BOYLE
Great Britain born 1934
Joan HILLS, collaborator
born 1931
Study of the side of an old mud hut: Study of a dried-up watercourse, Tanami Desert, Central Australia [Study of the side of an old mud hut: from "Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia. Study of a dried-up watercourse,]
Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia 1979
earth, mud, fibre-glass, wood
Mark BOYLE
Great Britain born 1934
Joan HILLS, collaborator
born 1931
Study of a dried-up watercourse, Tanami Desert, Central Australia [Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia. Study of a dried-up watercourse, Tanami Desert, Central Australia.]
Journey to the surface of the earth: Australia 1979
earth, mud, fibre-glass, wood
attributed to Benvenuto CELLINI
Italy 1500 – 1571
View Biography
Portrait of Cardinal Pietro Bembo (obverse);
Pegasus on the fountain Hippocrene (reverse) c.1539
Metalwork
bronze
Libero CONCORDIA
Italy born 1957
Ritratto più bussola e ventilatore
[Portrait with compass and ventilator]
[Ritratto pui bussola e ventilature] 1983
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Michael CRAIG-MARTIN
Ireland born 1941
United States of America 1945-1966 to Great Britain 1966
Reading with shoes 1980
Installation
black pressure-sensitive tape
acetate, wove paper mounted in perspex fram
Jules DALOU
France 1838 – 1902
View Biography
Study for the figure of the Republic for The triumph of the Republic 1879
terracotta
Jules DALOU
France 1838 – 1902
View Biography
Study for the chariot for The triumph of the Republic 1879
terracotta
Ger van ELK
The Netherlands born 1941
Mountain sculpture 1979
Photograph
type C photograph on canvas
Audrey FLACK
United States of America born 1931
Jolie madame
[Pretty woman]
1973
oil on canvas
Sylvie FLEURY
Switzerland born 1961
Vital perfection
[53/100]
1993
synthetic fur, cardboard box
edition of 100, signed and numbered
53/100
William Russell FLINT
Great Britain 1880 – 1969
Flowers and lacquer c.1927
oil on canvas
Charles GINNEVER
United States of America born 1931
Green mountain blue II [Green Mountain Blue II] 1978
steel, steel cable, enamel
John GOLDING
Great Britain born 1929
Memento mori [Momenti Mori] 1993
synthetic polymer paint and mixed media on canvas
Hans HAACKE
Germany born 1936
also works in the United States of America
The freedom fighters were here 1988
photographic transparency, synthetic polymer sheet and letters, electric lights
Ann HAMILTON
United States of America born 1956-06-22
Untitled (dissections....they said it was an experiment)
[neck/water]
1988/93
Installation
video disc, LCD screen and laser disc player
monitor: SHARP 6M-4OU; player: PIONEER CLD-V2400
edition of 9 with 2 artist's proofs, 4 exhibition copies
9 of an edition of 9
Ann HAMILTON
United States of America born 1956-06-22
Untitled (the capacity of absorption)
[ear/water]
1988/93
Installation
video disc, LCD screen and laser disc player
monitor: SHARP 6M-4OU; player: PIONEER CLD-V2400
edition of 9 with 2 artist's proofs, 4 exhibition copies
9 of an edition of 9
Al HELD
Brooklyn, New York, United States of America 1928-10-12 – Umbria, Italy 2005-07-27
Italy from 1981
View Biography
Skywatch II 1971
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Howard HODGKIN
Great Britain born 1932
View Biography
The Buckleys at Brede 1974-76
oil and tape on plywood board and wooden frame
Ralph HUMPHREY
United States of America 1932 – 1990
View Biography
Untitled 1974
synthetic polymer paint on shaped canvas
Michael HURSON
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
Hallway 1972
balsawood, composition board and metal wall brackets
Jörg IMMENDORFF
Germany born 1945
View Biography
Eigenlob stinkt nicht
[Selfpraise doesn't stink]
1983
oil on canvas
Callum INNES
Great Britain born 1952
Exposed painting black oxide 2000
oil on gesso on linen
Ronald JONES
United States of America born 1952
Untitled (DNA fragment from human chromosome 13 carrying mutant Rb genes also known as Malignant Oncogenes which trigger rapid Cancer Tumorigenisis) 1989
bronze
2/3
Bernard JOUBERT
France born 1946
Untitled [Untitled (Yellow and black)] 1980
gouache on ribbon
Mary KELLY
United States of America born 1941
Great Britain 1968-87
Documentation V: Classified specimens, proportional diagrams [ Documentation V: Classified specimens, proportional diagrams... (36 framed works and one book). Part of the Post Partum ...] 1977
33 perspex units, 3 diagrams, cardboard, wood, paper, ink, mixed media
36 framed works and one book
Edward KIENHOLZ
United States of America 1927 – 1994
Nancy KIENHOLZ
United States of America born 1943
The opti-can royale 1977
tin can, synthetic polymer resin, Frensel lens system, electric light, electrical cord and plug, set of six photographs
one of an edition of 55
Edward KIENHOLZ
United States of America 1927 – 1994
Nancy KIENHOLZ
United States of America born 1943
The billionaire deluxe 1977
tin can, synthetic polymer resin, Frensel lens system, electric light, electronic second counter
Edward KIENHOLZ
United States of America 1927 – 1994
Nancy KIENHOLZ
United States of America born 1943
The econo-can 1977
tin can, synthetic polymer resin, Frensel lens system, electric light, electrical cord and plug
Phillip KING
Tunisia born 1934
to Great Britain 1946
View Biography
Dunstable reel 1970
painted steel
Joseph KOSUTH
United States of America born 1945
View Biography
One and three mirrors
One and three mirrors 1965
mirror and two gelatin silver photographs
one in an edition of three
One and eight - a description exists in a number of differently coloured variations. In addition to the pink version in the Gallery's collection there are variations in violet, yellow, white, red, blue and green. In each variation the appropriate colour is specified in the lettering. Each of these differently coloured variations exists in an edition of three.
Joseph KOSUTH
United States of America born 1945
View Biography
One and eight - a description 1965
fluorescent tubes
one of an edition of 3
Gaston LACHAISE
France 1882-03-19 – United States of America 1935-10-18
View Biography
Floating figure 1927
bronze
no.5 in an edition of 7, with one unnumbered cast
5/7
All casts in bronze issued to date have been cast at the Modern Art Foundry, Long Island City, New York, and are located at: the Museum of Modern Art, New York (unnumbered); the Society Hill Project, Philadelphia (1/5) (erroneously marked: actually 1/7); Ray Stark Collection, Beverly Hills, California (2/7); Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska (3/7); the Lt John B. Putnam Jr Collection, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (4/7); and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (5/7).
Stephen LACK
Canada born 1946
to United States of America 1978
Y fish windows [Y fish] 1983
synthetic polymer paint and crayon on canvas
Henry LAMB
Australia 1883 – England 1960
England from 1886, with visits to France, Ireland and Italy
Horses frolicking 1910
oil on canvas
Maurice LAMBERT
France 1901 – Great Britain 1964
View Biography
Kronos [Cronus, Khronos [Time]] c.1964
cast and patinated bronze
Nikolaus LANG
Germany born 1941
Imaginary figuration [Imaginary Figuration (4 drums of sand)] 1994
Installation
coloured sand
Nikolaus LANG
Germany born 1941
Earth colours and paintings
Samples of earth colours and paintings
installation in three parts 1978-79
Installation
earth pigment, grey paper, synthetic polymer paint, muslin, brushwood
Alain LEMOSSE
France born 1944
Untitled construction 7/13 [Untitled construction: number 7 from a series of 13; Construction (Assemblage)] 1976
Multiple
wood, cardboard, paper and pins in wood and perspex box
7/13
Alain LEMOSSE
France born 1944
Construction no. 205 1977
mixed media
Alain LEMOSSE
France born 1944
Construction no. 224 1978
wood, cardboard, paper and pins in a perspex box
7/13
attributed to Guillaume [Guillon] LETHIÈRE
Guadeloupe 1760 – France 1832
Study for La mort de Camille
[The death of Camilla]
1785
oil on canvas
Marilyn LEVINE
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada born 1935 – Oakland, California, United States of America
to United States of America 1969
Sole leather 1975
stoneware
Marilyn LEVINE
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada born 1935 – Oakland, California, United States of America
to United States of America 1969
Johnston satchel 1975
stoneware
Marilyn LEVINE
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada born 1935 – Oakland, California, United States of America
to United States of America 1969
Waldo suitcase 1975
stoneware and fragment of paper label
Sol LEWITT
Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America born 1928
View Biography
Wall drawing No. 380 a-d
Isometric figures (cube, trapezoid, parallelogram, rectangle) 1982
pencil and coloured ink washes
Richard LONG
Great Britain born 1945
View Biography
Wood circle 1976
ninety pieces of wood
Aristide MAILLOL
France 1861 – 1944
View Biography
Study for La Montagne
[The mountain]
[Study for The mountain] 1936
bronze
no. 3 of an edition of 6
John MANDEL
United States of America born 1941
Untitled
Diptych 1971
oil and synthetic polymer paint on two canvases
Robert MANGOLD
United States of America born 1937
View Biography
1/4 manilla curved area
comprising 2 panels 1966
oil paint sprayed on composition board
Mario MERZ
Italy 1925 – 2003
also worked Australia
Untitled table painting 1974
synthetic polymer paint
canvas
Annette MESSAGER
France born 1943
Mes voeux
[My vows]
[Mes Voeux Mes voeux] 1989
Installation
gelatin silver photographs, colour pencil on paper, string
Annette MESSAGER
France born 1943
Penetration 1993-94
Installation
sewn and stuffed fabric elements, angora wool, eight lights
Antoni MIRALDA
Spain born 1942
France
Bread
from Coloured Feast, Sydney 1973
bread
attributed to MODERNO
Italy 1467 – 1528
View Biography
The fall of Phaeton, or The death of Hippolytus [The death of Hippolytus] c.1515
Metalwork
bronze
Henry MOORE
Great Britain 1898 – 1986
View Biography
Head of a girl c.1928
plaster, alabaster base
Robert MORRIS
United States of America born 1931
View Biography
Slab (platform)
reconstruction of original made in 1962 1973
painted aluminium
Robert MORRIS
United States of America born 1931
View Biography
Slab (cloud)
reconstruction of original made in 1962 1973
painted aluminium
Robert MOTHERWELL
United States of America 1915 – 1991
View Biography
The sienna wall [The Sienna Wall, Sienna Wall]
titled, verso u.l, "The Sienna Wall" 1972-73
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
John MURPHY
Great Britain born 1945
Ionia: it is here that one smells the woman 1982-83
oil on canvas
Reuben NAKIAN
United States of America 1897 – 1986
View Biography
Europa and the bull with Eros 1959-60
terracotta
Reuben NAKIAN
United States of America 1897 – 1986
View Biography
Europa and the bull c.1958
terracotta
Don NICE
United States of America born 1932
Crocodile 1973
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Kenneth NOLAND
United States of America born 1924
View Biography
Oakum 1970
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
David NOVROS
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
Untitled
4 pieces 1967-68
synthetic polymer paint, lacquer and pigments on fibreglass panels
Giulio PAOLINI
Italy born 1940
Aria
[Air]

(Air) 1983
graphite on two silver gelatin photographs, perspex, steel cable, glass
Kenneth PRICE
United States of America born 1935
View Biography
Untitled (1979)
glazed earthenware
Harvey QUAYTMAN
United States of America 1937 – 2002
View Biography
Quince days 1979
synthetic polymer paint on shaped canvas
Milton RESNICK
Ukraine born 1917
to United States of America 1922
View Biography
Pink fire [Fire] 1971
oil on linen
Yves REYNIER
France born 1946
Untitled [BL 320] (1979)
Assemblage
synthetic polymer paint on paper and canvas
Yves REYNIER
France born 1946
Untitled [BL 315] (1979)
Assemblage
synthetic polymer paint on paper and canvas
Yves REYNIER
France born 1946
Untitled [BL 334] (1979)
Assemblage
synthetic polymer paint on paper and canvas
Yves REYNIER
France born 1946
Untitled [BL 325]
Parts falling off work - needs restoration 1979
Collage
synthetic polymer paint on paper, cotton, string and canvas
Larry RIVERS
United States of America 1923 – 2002
born Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg
Public and private [Public and Private] 1983-84
oil on canvas and expanded polystyrene foamcore mounted on three plywood panels and wood frame
mounted on sculpted foam core
Dieter ROTH
Germany 1930 – Switzerland 1998
Iceland
Barock Übung
[Baroque exercise]
1974
pen and ink, pencil, synthetic polymer paint and paper collage on wood
Ulrich RUCKRIEM
Germany born 1938
Untitled 1975
granite
SALVO
Italy born 1947
Salvo e vivo/Salvo e morto
[Salvo is alive/Salvo is dead]
(1973)
marble, incised letters, gold paint
Mario SCHIFANO
Libya 1934 – Italy 1998
Leptis - Sono nato qui - 1934
[Leptis - I was born here - 1934]

(Leptis - I was born here - 1934) 1984
lacquer, wood, sand, oil on canvas
William SCOTT
Great Britain 1913 – 1989
Ochre and orange red 1963
oil on canvas
John SEERY
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
East (1973)
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Richard SERRA
United States of America born 1939
View Biography
Prop 1968
lead
Michael SINGER
United States of America born 1945
View Biography
Ritual balance series, 12/75 1975
wood, phragmites, bamboo and stones
Robert SMITHSON
United States of America 1938 – 1973
Rocks and mirror square II
Rocks and mirror square II 1971
basalt rocks and mirrors
Alan SONFIST
United States of America born 1946
View Biography
Earth monument to New York
Earth monument to New York (1979)
stratified stone
Keith SONNIER
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
Untitled
Part A - Fluorescent tubes from the work 'Untitled' Part B - Glass from the work 'Untitled' Part C - Glass from the work 'Untitled' 1969
glass sheets, fluorescent tubes and electrical cables
Keith SONNIER
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
Lit square
Part A - Glass from the work Lit square Part B - Fluorescent tubes from the work Lit square 1969
glass sheet, fluorescent tubes and electrical cables
Keith SONNIER
United States of America born 1941
View Biography
Expanded SEL diptych II [Expanded sel diptych II] 1979
fluorescent tubes, electrical cable
Daniel SPOERRI
Romania born 1930
to Switzerland 1942, to France 1959
Eaten partly by: Visitors of the Biennale of Sydney 1979
Eaten partly by: Visitors of the Biennale of Sydney 1979 1978-79
dinner debris: knives, forks, plates, bread, bottle, glasses, glued to a screenprinted tablecloth mounted on wood
Richard STANKIEWICZ
United States of America 1922 – 1983
View Biography
Australia no. 15 1969
steel
Alfred STEVENS
Belgium 1823 – France 1906
View Biography
(Moonlit seascape) 1892
oil on panel
Michelle STUART
United States of America born 1938
Breezy Point, New York
earth from Breezy Point N.Y., rock indentations on three unmounted sheets of rag paper, mounted on muslin and suspended in layers from their upper edges 1976
Assemblage
earth, rag paper, muslin
rag paper mounted on muslin
Marilyn TABATZNIK
South Africa born 1951
Monument for them [Monument For Them] 1993
raku fired clay
Jeffrey THORNTON
Great Britain born 1935
Flight c.1971
marble
Jacopo da TREZZO
Italy 1515/1519 – Spain 1589
View Biography
Portrait of Gianello della Torre of Cremona (obverse);
Fountain of the Sciences (reverse) 1548?
Metalwork
bronze
Michael VENEZIA
United States of America born 1935
View Biography
Untitled [Untitled (10 August 1979)] 1979
pigment, metallic and glass powders on canvas
Darío VILLALBA
Spain born 1939
El enfermo
[The patient]
1973
oil and photographic emulsion on canvas, aluminium, plexiglass
mobile construction
Andy WARHOL
United States of America 1928/1930 – 1987
View Biography
Henry Gillespie
Henry Gillespie 1985
synthetic polymer paint screenprinted onto canvas
Lawrence WEINER
United States of America born 1942
View Biography
With relation to the various manners of use for/of various things 1974
Installation
language, vinyl letters
William T. WILEY
United States of America born 1937
View Biography
No one has the right background 1971
synthetic polymer paint and charcoal on canvas
Robert WILSON
United States of America born 1941
Nijinsky hanging table [Hanging table] (1977)
wire mesh
Robert WILSON
United States of America born 1941
Freud hanging chair [Hanging chair] 1977
wire mesh
Edition of 6
Jackie WINSOR
Canada born 1941
to United States of America 1952
Plywood square 1973
plywood and hemp
Peter YOUNG
United States of America born 1940
View Biography
Number 29, 1968 1968
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Joseph BEUYS
Germany 1921 – 1986
Noiseless blackboard eraser 1974
Sculpture
felt blackboard eraser, paper label, ink stamp, ink
readymade felt blackboard eraser with yellow commercial label; subsequently stamped and signed by artist
no. 306 of an edition of 550, signed and numbered
Catalogue Raisonne: Multiples and prints 1965-1980, cat. 93
Aristide MAILLOL
France 1861 – 1944
View Biography
La Montagne
[The mountain]
1937
lead
no.4 from an edition of 6
4/6
Antoine Louis BARYE
France 1795 – 1875
Thésée combatant le centaure Biénor (2e réduction)
[Theseus slaying the Centaur Bienor (2nd reduction)]
1849
bronze
edition unknown
Emile BOURDELLE
France 1861-10-30 – 1929-10-01
View Biography
Penelope 1905
bronze
edition of 8, with 2 artist's proofs
EA1
cast 1977 by Valsuanni Foundry, Paris
Emile BOURDELLE
France 1861-10-30 – 1929-10-01
View Biography
Penelope 1907
bronze
edition of 8, with 2 artist's proofs
EA1
Emile BOURDELLE
France 1861-10-30 – 1929-10-01
View Biography
Penelope 1912
bronze
cast
edition of 8, with 2 artist's proofs
EA1
The National Gallery's is the first of the two proofs and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1973. Further casts from this edition are in the following collections: the Kroeller Muller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Honolulu Academy of Art, Hawaii; Musée Bourdelle, Paris; and the collection of Madame Dufet Bourdelle, Nemours, France. EA2 is at the artist's birth place, in Montauban, France. A second variant, in plaster, is located at the Musée Bourdelle, Paris.
Antoine Louis BARYE
France 1795 – 1875
Esquisse pour Thésée combatant le centaure Biénor
[Study for Theseus slaying the centaur Bienor]
[also known as Un Centaure and Lapith [A Centaur and Lapith]] c.1848
bronze
edition unknown
Claes OLDENBURG
Sweden born 1929
United States of America from 1930
View Biography
Miniature soft drum set [Minature soft drum set ( a multiple consisting of canvas drums and cymbals, rope and wooden drumsticks on a bandstand base, with a vinyl storage bag,]
a multiple consisting of canvas drums and cymbals, rope and wooden drumsticks on a bandstand base, with a vinyl storage bag, text and colophon sheets, all in a clear vinyl bag and a wooden box 1969
Multiple
stencil, assemblage nad painting
screenprinted and spraypainted canvas, rope, wood, plastic button and metal screws on a screenprinted paper on wood base, in a 2-colour screenprinted wooden box
canvas, wood
edition of 200 plus 18 artist's proofs (catalogue raisonne, in consultation with Marian Goodman, suggests 26 artist's proofs)
23/200
Axsom and Platzker, Printed stuff, 1997, cat. 61
Claes OLDENBURG
Sweden born 1929
United States of America from 1930
View Biography
Soft screw 1976
cast black elastomeric urethane on black-painted two-part adjustable Phillipine mahogony base
edition of 24 plus 3 artist's copies, 1 special proof, 3 publisher's copies
publisher's copy III/III
Gemini G.E.L. number CO74-2037; cancellation by destruction of mold
Gemini G.E.L. cat. 705
Carl TANDATNICK
United States of America born 1956
AIDS virus on white blood cell / grey (virus) border [AIDS Virus on White Blood Cell / Grey (Virus) Border] 1993
synthetic polymer paint and screenprinted ink on canvas
John WALKER
Great Britain born 1939
Australia 1979 - 1986
View Biography
Study for Luke's blue [Study May] 1976
synthetic polymer paint and synthetic polymer gel, canvas, sand, chalk and black chalk on canvas
Charles SIMS
Great Britain 1873 – 1928
France 1891-92, 1887-88, frequent visits to France, Belgium and Scotland thereafter
Autumn landscape c.1914-16
tempera on plywood panel
Charles SIMS
Great Britain 1873 – 1928
France 1891-92, 1887-88, frequent visits to France, Belgium and Scotland thereafter
Springtime c.1915
oil on canvas
linen canvas
Frank BRANGWYN
Belgium 1867 – Great Britain 1956
England from 1875, with regular visits to Europe
Furling the sails [Furling the sails (Making her fast)] after 1890
oil on canvas
Claude VIALLAT
France born 1936
Untitled 1981
paint on canvas, newspaper and painted card
Carl ANDRE
United States of America born 1935
View Biography
Chain well
Chain well 1964
wood, steel chain
Josef ALBERS
Germany 1888 – United States of America 1976
United States of America from 1925
View Biography
Study for Homage to the square 1956
oil on composition board
Robert ARNESON
United States of America 1930 – 1992
Fragment of Western civilization [Fragment of Western civilisation]
(In two crates) 1972
terracotta, mortar, wood and wire mesh backing
Larry BELL
United States of America born 1939
Maquette for Iceberg project
study for The iceberg and its shadow 1974, a large-scale sculpture installation, collection of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 1974
fourteen glass panels
Gerhard RICHTER
Germany born 1932
Gilbert & George 1975
oil on canvas
Alexandra EXTER
Ukraine 1882 – France 1949
View Biography
L'Homme réclame
[Publicity man]
1926
collage on cardboard and wood, cotton, string, book cloth, copper, sequins, steel tacks and eyelets
R, B KITAJ
United States of America born 1932
Great Britain 1958-1998
Los Angeles no. 20 1990- 2003
oil on canvas
Joseph BEUYS
Germany 1921 – 1986
Stripes from the house of the shaman 1962-72
Stripes from the House of the Shaman 1964-72 (1980)
Installation
felt, wood, coats, animal skin, rubber tube, pamphlets, copper, quartz and ground minerals, pigments
Gary HILL
Unites States of America born 1951
Crossbow 1999
Installation
video installation (three-channel, colour, sound), three LCD screens, three DVD players, speakers
3 13-inch LCD video displays with speakers, three-channel synchroniszer, three DVD players, three-channel synchroniser
number 5 from an edition of 6, with 1 artist's proof
5/6
GHRC 126
Marcel DUCHAMP
France 1887 – 1968
also worked in United States of America
View Biography
Bicycle wheel 1913 reconstructed 1964
painted wooden stool and bicycle wheel
no. 4 from an edition of 8
4/8
editioned by Galleria Schwarz, Milan, 1964, authorised and signed by the artist
Joseph CORNELL
United States of America 1903 – 1972
View Biography
Untitled (Owl box) c.1946-48
box construction
Juan GRIS
Spain 1887 – France 1927
View Biography
Damier et cartes à jouer
[Checkerboard and playing cards]
[Checkerboard with playing cards] 1915
oil on canvas
Joseph CORNELL
United States of America 1903 – 1972
View Biography
Untitled (for Stephanie) c.1945
box construction
Giovanni ANSELMO
Italy born 1934
Entrare nell' opera
[Entering the work]
[Entrare nell' opera [To enter the work]] 1971
Photograph
gelatin silver photograph on canvas
Lynda BENGLIS
United States of America born 1941
Roberta (1974)
enamel, sculpmetal and tinsel on aluminium screeing and foil
Lynda BENGLIS
United States of America born 1941
Hotel 1974
zinc on cheesecloth over aluminium mesh and plaster
Richard ARTSCHWAGER
United States of America born 1923
Mantle 1990
formica, wood, synthetic polymer paint
Anne and Patrick POIRIER
born 1968
Inscriptions (Isola Sacra)
[Holy island]

Inscriptions (Isola Sacra), consisting of 26 panels (1973)
26 panels of cast rice paper each mounted on cream cardboard in a glazed wooden box
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Reef (Jammer)
work consists of 5 silk panels 1976
5 pieces of silk
Robert RAUSCHENBERG
United States of America born 1925
Albino cactus (scale) 1977
ink transfer on silk, synthetic polymer paint on composition board, mirrorized synthetic polymer film, electric light, wood and rubber tyre
Timothy WOODMAN
United States of America born 1952
Skater (1978)
synthetic polymer paint and enamel on steel
Timothy WOODMAN
United States of America born 1952
Person in a boat 1978
synthetic polymer paint and enamel on steel
Pierre SOULAGES
France born 1919
View Biography
Painting, 222.0 x 175.0 cm, 23 July 1979 1979
oil on canvas
Bridget RILEY
Great Britain born 1931-04-25
View Biography
Reef [Reef I] 1976
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Tony OURSLER
United States of America born 1957
Incubator 2003
DVD installation work 2003
fibre-glass sphere, dvd (colour, sound, 5 minutes), dvd player, data projector
DVD
Jules OLITSKI
United States of America born 1922
View Biography
Prince Patutsky's command 1966
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Ann McCOY
United States of America born 1946
Waterfall 1972
pencil, coloured crayons and synthetic polymer paint on coated paper with muslin
Charles ARNOLDI
United States of America born 1946-04-10
View Biography
Untitled 1974
assemblage of tree branches
Martha DIAMOND
United States born 1944
Untitled [Untitled (Corner of building)] (1980)
oil on composition board
Martha DIAMOND
United States born 1944
Untitled [Untitled (Skyscrapers)] (1980)
oil on composition board
Mark DI SUVERO
China born 1933
to United States of America 1941
View Biography
T'ang October 1977
steel
torch-cut steel plate, 5 pieces
one of an unnumbered edition of 50 plus 20 special proofs, 5 artist's copies, 5 publisher's copies, 3 Gemini G E L impressions, 4 trial copies, 1 right to print proof
"5/8" [1.6 cm] hot rolled steel plate was torch-cut from an optical pattern. The heat burr was removed with a steel grinder, and both sides were wire brushed. The artist's initials were then stamped into the sculpture using a hydraulic press and a stamp made by the artist from plow steel." (Gemini G E L documentation, NGA file 82/0389, folio 119)
Larry POONS
Ogibuko, Japan born 1937
United States from 1940
Mover 1972
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
canvas
Rosemarie CASTORO
United States of America born 1939
... trap 1977
wood
Jackson POLLOCK
United States of America 1912 – 1956
View Biography
Totem lesson 2 [Totem Lesson 2] 1945
oil on canvas
OT 122
Willem DE KOONING
The Netherlands 1904 – United States of America 1997
View Biography
Woman V 1952-53
oil and charcoal on canvas
Andy WARHOL
United States of America 1928/1930 – 1987
View Biography
Elvis 1963
synthetic polymer paint screenprinted onto canvas
415, p. 379
Ger van ELK
The Netherlands born 1941
The Leiden windmill: from the series Symmetrical landscape 1975
Photograph
gouache on photograph
Sigmar POLKE
Germany born 1941
Watch tower I 1984
silver leaf and silver nitrate on canvas
Markus LÜPERTZ
Czechoslovakia born 1941
Germany 1948
View Biography
Helm-dithyrambisch IV
[Helmet-dithyrambic IV]
1970
distemper on canvas
Julian SCHNABEL
United States of America born 1951
Untitled (Fox farm) [Untitled] 1989
oil and gesso on velvet
Georg BASELITZ
Germany born 1938
View Biography
Meissener Waldarbeiter
[Meissen woodmen]
1969
oil on canvas
Ron MUECK
Australia born 1958
Great Britain from 1985-86
Pregnant woman 2002
fibreglass, resin, silicone
Morris LOUIS
United States of America 1912 – 1962
View Biography
Dalet Zayin 1959
synthetic polymer paint on unprimed canvas
Pablo PICASSO
Spain 1881 – France 1973
View Biography
Nature morte au masque, 4 mars 1937
[Still-life with mask, 4 March 1937]
[Composition au masque [Composition with mask] Still life with mask, 4 March 1837 Glass, bottle and mask] 1937
cardboard, metal, wood, string, oil paint and sand on canvas
Antonio PISANELLO
Italy 1375/1415 – 1455
View Biography
Portrait of Niccolò Piccinino, condottiere (obverse);
She-griffin of Perugia suckling children (reverse) c.1440-41
Metalwork
bronze
Matteo de' PASTI
Italy 1441 – 1467/1468
View Biography
Portrait of Isotta degli Atti (obverse);
Malatesta elephant (reverse) c.1453-54
Metalwork
bronze
Alexandra EXTER
Ukraine 1882 – France 1949
View Biography
L'Homme sandwich
[Sandwich man]
1926
collage on cardboard and wood, cotton, string, book cloth, copper, sequins, steel tacks and bridge nails
Fritz GLARNER
Switzerland 1899 – 1972
View Biography
Relational painting, tondo no. 4 1946
oil on composition board
Amédée OZENFANT
France 1886 – 1966
United States of America 1939-1955
View Biography
Nacres
[Mother of pearl]
c.1926
oil on canvas
Jean DUBUFFET
France 1901 – 1985
View Biography
Les Inconsistances
[Inconsistencies]
[Inconsistancies (Les Inconsistances)]
(four panels) 1964
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Roman OPALKA
France born 1931
View Biography
1965/1-00
detail 868,149-893,746 1967-71
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Bridget RILEY
Great Britain born 1931-04-25
View Biography
Gamelan 1970
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Alexandra EXTER
Ukraine 1882 – France 1949
View Biography
Costume model of a Martian guard for the film Aelita c.1923
watercolour on cardboard, cotton, steel wire and tacks
Joseph VERNET
France 1714 – 1789
Port méditerranéen, temps calme
[Mediterranean port, calm weather]
c.1745
oil on canvas
Joseph VERNET
France 1714 – 1789
Tempête sur la côte méditerranéenne
[Storm on the Mediterranean coast]
c.1745
oil on canvas
David STOLTZ
United States of America born 1943
View Biography
Amarillo
Amarillo (1978-79)
painted steel, c.1000 pieces
Peter Paul RUBENS
Germany (Westphalia) 1577 – Belgium (Flanders) 1640
also worked in Spain
Sketch for The triumphal entry of Henry IV into Paris, 22 May 1594 1628
oil on panel
Keith MILOW
Great Britain born 1945
to United States of America 1980
Split // definitive [Split / definitive]
Split // definitive 1976
oil on two wood panels
Jacopo di CIONE
Italy (Florence) 1320/1330 – 1398/1400
View Biography
Madonna and Child enthroned with Saints 1367
tempera and gold leaf on panel
Stuart DAVIS
United States of America 1894 – 1964
View Biography
American landscape 1932
oil on canvas
Sophie TAEUBER-ARP
Switzerland 1889 – 1943
France until 1940
View Biography
Vertical and horizontal composition c.1928
construction of oil on composition board
Giorgio MORANDI
Italy 1890 – 1964
View Biography
Natura morta
[Still life]
1956
oil on canvas
Hannah HÖCH
Germany 1889 – 1978
View Biography
Imaginäre Brücke
[Imaginary bridge]
[Two heads (Zwei Köpfe)] 1926
oil on canvas
Antoni TAPIES
Spain born 1923
Matèria ratllada
[Striped matter]
["Striped matter"] 2000
mixed media on plywood
Jo BAER
United States of America born 1929-08-07
to Ireland 1975, to the Netherlands 1983
View Biography
Untitled (vertical flanking diptych - red) 1966-74
oil on canvas
attributed to the GOULANDRIS MASTER
Greece (Cyclades Islands)  
Female figure [Cycladic figure] c.2700 BC- 2300 BC
marble
Tery FUGATE-WILCOX
United States of America born 1944
View Biography
2,500 A.D. (Cu & Zn) 1970
copper and zinc
YAN Pei Ming
China born 1960
France from 1980
Autoportrait (Mars) 2000
oil on canvas
Pierre BONNARD
France 1867 – 1947
Woman in front of a mirror
[Femme devant un miroir]
c.1908
oil on canvas
Henri MATISSE
France 1869 – 1954
View Biography
L'Enlevement d'Europe
[The abduction of Europa]
[Rape of Europa] 1929
oil on canvas
Amedeo MODIGLIANI
Italy 1884 – France 1920
View Biography
Standing nude c.1912
limestone
Jacob EPSTEIN
United States of America 1880 – Great Britain 1959
View Biography
Woman possessed 1932
Hoptonwood stone
Artist unknown
Italy (Ferrara?) born 1400/1600
Madonna dell'Umilità
[Madonna of Humility]
c.1470
painted wood (Italian poplar)
Master of the Marble Madonnas
Italy (Tuscany?) working c.1470-1500
Madonna and Child [Virgin and Child] c.1480
marble and gold leaf
GIAMBOLOGNA
Flanders (France) 1529 – Italy 1608
Antonio SUSINI, founder
Italy (Florence) active 1572 – Italy died 1624
Angel [Victory angel] 1596
bronze
Giovanni di PAOLO
Italy (Siena) 1399/1403 – 1482
View Biography
Crucifixion with donor Jacopo di Bartolomeo [Crucifixion] c.1455
tempera and gold leaf on panel
André DERAIN
France 1880 – 1954
View Biography
Le Cavalier au cheval blanc
[Knight on a white horse]
c.1905
oil on canvas
André DERAIN
France 1880 – 1954
View Biography
Auto-portrait dans l'atelier
[Self-portrait in the studio]
c.1903
oil on canvas
Max PECHSTEIN
Germany 1881 – 1955
View Biography
Brücke über die Seine mit kleinem Dampfer
[Bridge over the Seine with small steamer]
(recto);
Portrait of a woman (verso) 1908
oil on canvas
Édouard VUILLARD
France 1868 – 1940
A l'Opéra
[At the Opera]
c.1900
oil on hardboard
Sean SCULLY
Ireland born 1945-06-30
to Great Britain 1949, to United States of America 1975
View Biography
Bigland 1987-88
oil on canvas
Auguste RODIN
France 1840-11-12 – 1917-11-18
View Biography
Maquette for The burghers of Calais 1884 cast 1973
bronze
no. 9 from an edition of 12, issued by Musée Rodin, Paris
9/12
no.9 from an edition of 12 (a variant with pedestal also exists in an edition of 12)
Emile BOURDELLE
France 1861-10-30 – 1929-10-01
View Biography
Maternité
[Maternity]
1893
bronze
unnumbered from an edition of 8, with 2 artist's proofs
Claude MONET
France 1840 – 1926
View Biography
Meules, milieu du jour
[Haystacks, midday]
[also known as Meules au soleil, milieu du jour and Grainstacks, midday] 1890
oil on canvas
Wildenstein 1271
Gustave COURBET
France 1819 – Switzerland 1877
Study for Les Demoiselles des bords de la Seine (Été)
[Girls on the banks of the Seine (Summer)]
1856
oil on canvas
Paul CÉZANNE
France 1839 – 1906
View Biography
L'Après-midi à Naples
[Afternoon in Naples]
[Afternoon in Naples (L'Apres-midi a Naples)] c.1875
oil on canvas
Alfred SISLEY
France 1839 – 1899
View Biography
Un sentier aux Sablons
[A path at Les Sablons]
[A path at Les Sablons] 1883
oil on canvas
Daulte 492
Marcel DUCHAMP
France 1887 – 1968
also worked in United States of America
View Biography
Hat rack 1917 reconstructed 1964
wooden hat rack
no. 2 from an edition of 8
2/8
editioned 1964 by Galleria Schwarz, Milan, authorised and signed by the artist
Joseph BEUYS
Germany 1921 – 1986
Intuition [Intuition ... instead of a cookbook] 1968
wooden box, nails, graphite
unlimited edition, signed unnumbered
Part of the the series Zeitkunst im Haushalt [Time art in the household] 1968, which also included Dieter Roth, Robert Filliou, Wolf Vostell, Milan Knízák and Daniel Spoerri; around 12,000 copies of Intuition were made between 198 and 1985 with variations in timber and nails
Catalogue Raisonne: Multiples and Prints 1965-1980, cat. 7
Kasimir MALEVICH
Ukraine 1878 – Russia 1935
View Biography
Stroyuschiysya dom
[House under construction]
1915-16
oil on canvas
Willem DE KOONING
The Netherlands 1904 – United States of America 1997
View Biography
Untitled IX 1983
oil on canvas
MAN RAY
United States of America 1890 – France 1976
View Biography
Cadeau
[Gift]
[Cadeau] 1921 reconstructed 1970
iron with brass tacks, glass cover and wooden base
artist's proof (prototype for an edition of 9 issued by Luciano Anselmino for Galeria Il Fauno, Turin)
artist's proof
prototype for edition of 9; Turin: Luciano Anselmino/Galeria Il Fauno (edition of 9); original constructed in Paris, disappeared when first exhibited in 1921
René MAGRITTE
Belgium 1898 – 1967
View Biography
Les Amants
[The lovers]
1928
oil on canvas
Natalya GONCHAROVA
Russia 1881 – France 1962
Switzerland and Spain 1915-17, France from 1917
View Biography
Peasants dancing [Khorovod (Round Dance)] 1910-11
oil on canvas
Giambattista TIEPOLO
Italy 1696 – Spain 1770
Marriage allegory [Marriage allegory of the Cornaro family] c.1737-1747
oil on canvas
Willem DE KOONING
The Netherlands 1904 – United States of America 1997
View Biography
Two figures in landscape 1968
oil on paper
Claude MONET
France 1840 – 1926
View Biography
Nymphéas
[Waterlilies]
[Water-lilies] c.1914-17
oil on canvas
Wildenstein 1807
Jean ARP
Germany 1887 – Switzerland 1966
France 1920-1939
View Biography
Plastron et fourchette
[Shirtfront and fork]
c.1922
painted wood
Joan MIRÓ
Spain 1893 – 1983
View Biography
Paysage
[Landscape]
1927
oil on canvas
Georges SEURAT
France 1859 – 1891
View Biography
Study for Le Bec du Hoc, Grandcamp 1885
oil on panel
Al HELD
Brooklyn, New York, United States of America 1928-10-12 – Umbria, Italy 2005-07-27
Italy from 1981
View Biography
Taxi cab II 1959
synthetic polymer paint on paper laid on canvas
Yves TANGUY
France 1900 – United States of America 1955
View Biography
Vieil horizon
[Old horizon]
1928
oil on canvas
Gerhard RICHTER
Germany born 1932
Juno 1983
oil on canvas
Ted KURAHARA
United States of America born 1925
Double Mars black over Pyrrole red (For M.E)
diptych 1998
oil on canvas
canvas
Vladimir Augustovich STENBERG
Russia 1899 – 1982
b Moscow, 4 April 1899; d Moscow, 2 May 1982
View Biography
KPS 4 - Construction of a spatial apparatus no. 4 1919-20 reconstructed 1973-74
steel, glass, lacquer and plaster on wood
edition of 4
Georgii Augustovich STENBERG
Russia 1900 – 1933
View Biography
KPS 13 - Construction of a spatial apparatus no. 13 1919-20 reconstructed 1973-74
steel, glass, paint and plaster on wood
edition of 4
Arshile GORKY
Turkey (Armenia) 1904 – United States of America 1948
View Biography
Untitled 1944
oil and pencil on canvas
Hans HOFMANN
Germany 1880 – United States of America 1966
View Biography
Pre-dawn 1960
oil on canvas
Clyfford STILL
United States of America 1904 – 1980
View Biography
1952-no.2 [Gray painting] 1952
oil on canvas
Louise BOURGEOIS
France born 1911
to United States of America 1938
View Biography
C.O.Y.O.T.E. [previously known as The blind leading the blind] 1941-48
painted wood
David SMITH
United States of America 1906 – 1965
View Biography
25 planes 1958
stainless steel
Alexander CALDER
United States of America 1898-07-22 – 1976-11-11
also worked in France
View Biography
Night and day 1964
painted steel
Claes OLDENBURG
Sweden born 1929
United States of America from 1930
View Biography
Leopard chair 1963
vinyl, wood, foam rubber, metal
Lee KRASNER
United States of America 1908 – 1984
View Biography
Cool white 1959
oil on canvas
YAN Pei Ming
China born 1960
France from 1980
Autoportrait (Mai 2000) 2000
oil on canvas
Philip GUSTON
Canada 1913 – United States of America 1980
to United States of America 1919
View Biography
Bad habits 1970
oil on canvas
Pierre SOULAGES
France born 1919
View Biography
Painting, 195 x 130 cm, 6 August 1956 1956
oil on canvas
Willem DE KOONING
The Netherlands 1904 – United States of America 1997
View Biography
July 4th 1957
oil on paper
Honoré DAUMIER
France 1808 – 1879
Fugitifs
[Refugees]
[Les émigrants (second version) The emigrants]
Fugitives, second version (Fugitifs, deuxieme etat) The emigrants, second version (Les emigrants, "deuxieme version") 1862-1878?
painted plaster
Agnes MARTIN
Canada 1912-03-22 – United States of America 2004-12-16
to United States of America 1931
Untitled # 4 1977
gesso, ink wash and graphite on canvas
Bridget RILEY
Great Britain born 1931-04-25
View Biography
Veld 1971
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Robert RYMAN
United States of America born 1930
Arena 1977
synthetic polymer paint and enamel on linen on board, steel fasteners and metal cables
Robert Ryman Catalogue Raisonne (forthcoming) RR 77.378
Ad REINHARDT
United States of America 1913 – 1967
View Biography
Painting 1954-1958 [Painting] 1954-58
oil on canvas
Agnes MARTIN
Canada 1912-03-22 – United States of America 2004-12-16
to United States of America 1931
Untitled III 1982
synthetic polymer paint, pencil, on canvas
Agnes MARTIN
Canada 1912-03-22 – United States of America 2004-12-16
to United States of America 1931
Untitled # 8 1980
gesso, synthetic polymer paint and pencil on canvas
Philip GUSTON
Canada 1913 – United States of America 1980
to United States of America 1919
View Biography
Prospects 1964
oil on canvas
Jim DINE
United States of America born 1935
View Biography
An animal 1961
oil and pelt on canvas
Frank STELLA
United States of America born 1936
View Biography
Flin Flon 1970
synthetic polymer and fluorescent paint on canvas
Medardo ROSSO
Italy 1858 – 1928
View Biography
Maternité
[Maternity]
1889
wax on plaster
Georgii Augustovich STENBERG
Russia 1900 – 1933
View Biography
KPS 11 - Construction of a spatial apparatus no. 11 1919-20 reconstructed 1973-74
steel, glass, paint and plaster on wood
edition of 4
Vladimir Augustovich STENBERG
Russia 1899 – 1982
b Moscow, 4 April 1899; d Moscow, 2 May 1982
View Biography
KPS 6 - Construction of a spatial apparatus no. 6 1919-20 reconstructed 1973-74
steel, glass, lacquer and plaster on wood
edition of 4
Donald JUDD, artist
United States of America 1928 – 1994
Untitled
Ten from Leo Castelli 1967
stainless steel
folded
edition of 200, 25 artist's proofs
should be signed and numbered on label - no label
Donald JUDD
United States of America 1928 – 1994
Untitled [Six boxes]
Untitled (Six boxes) 1974
brass
6 units
each 89.2 (h) x 50.0 (w) cm
250.2 (h) x 295.2 (w) cm
392.2 (h) x 372.9 (w) cm
60.8 (h) x 50.6 (w) cm
174.0 (h) x 81.7 (w) x 108.7 (d) cm
8.0 cm (diameter)
43.8 (h) x 34.6 (w) x 21.0 (d) cm
35.2 (h) x 15.2 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
160.0 (h) x 225.9 (w) cm
304.0 (h) x 410.0 (w) x 70.0 (d) cm
102.5 (h) x 29.5 (w) cm
122.2 (h) x 122.2 (w) cm
overall 2.6 (h) x 2.4 (w) x 53.5 (d) cm
base 2.6 (h) x 2.4 (w) cm
sculpture 53.5 (w) cm
overall 3.4 (h) x 3.5 (w) x 111.0 (d) cm
base 3.4 (h) x 3.5 (w) cm
sculpture 111.0 (w) cm
overall 1.8 (h) x 2.5 (w) x 69.5 (d) cm
base 1.8 (h) x 2.5 (w) cm
sculpture 69.5 (d) cm
48.9 (h) x 32.4 (w) x 11.0 (d) cm
60.8 (h) x 91.6 (w) cm
232.2 (h) x 277.2 (w) x 50.0 (d) cm
2.6 (h) x 91.9 (w) x 74.2 (d) cm
157.0 (h) x 150.5 (w) x 75.0 (d) cm
275.0 (h) x 213.5 (w) cm
145.0 (h) x 188.0 (w) x 47.5 (d) cm
64.1 (h) cm
343.5 (h) x 729.8 (w) x 81.5 (d) cm
7.5 cm (diameter)
37.4 (h) x 41.5 (w) x 23.2 (d) cm
closed 7.9 (h) x 35.5 (w) x 39.5 (d) cm
approx. size open 35.5 (h) x 140.0 (w) x 7.9 (d) cm
180.0 (h) x 206.0 (w) cm
210.4 (h) x 260.0 (w) cm
150.5 (h) x 100.8 (w) x 7.2 (d) cm
63.6 (h) x 34.0 (w) x 27.0 (d) cm
40.5 (h) x 57.5 (w) x 21.5 (d) cm
22.5 (h) x 75.1 (w) x 18.5 (d) cm
275.5 (h) x 120.0 (w) cm
12.4 (h) x 22.2 (w) x 16.2 (d) cm
31.0 (h) x 43.2 (w) x 10.3 (d) cm
23.0 (h) x 21.0 (w) x 10.8 (d) cm
23.0 (h) x 16.5 (w) x 11.0 (d) cm
61.2 (h) x 50.8 (w) cm
irregular 214.0 (h) x 215.0 (w) cm
left 214.0 (h) x 215.0 (w) cm
right 173.0 (h) x 215.0 (w) cm
framed (maximum) 232.2 (h) x 232.2 (w) cm
irregular 40.0 (h) x 35.4 (w) x 1.6 (d) cm
145.9 (h) x 97.5 (w) cm
183.0 (h) x 183.0 (w) cm
101.8 (h) x 101.9 (w) cm
202.0 (h) x 196.0 (w) x 55.0 (d) cm
canvas 248.5 (h) x 162.8 (w) cm
196.0 (h) x 196.0 (w) cm
30.0 (h) x 25.5 (w) x 6.0 (d) cm
overall 318.1 (h) x 42.5 (w) x 42.5 (d) cm
sculpture 184.0 (h) cm 44.0 cm (diameter)
collar 17.1 (h) cm 17.8 cm (diameter)
base 117.0 (h) x 42.5 (w) x 42.5 (d) cm
overall 328.4 (h) x 51.4 (w) x 51.4 (d) cm
sculpture 193.3 (h) cm
collar 18.1 (h) cm 18.1 cm (diameter)
base 117.0 (h) x 51.4 (w) x 51.4 (d) cm
overall (variable) 218.2 (h) x 551.6 (w) cm
canvas (each) 198.0 (h) x 147.5 (w) cm
framed 218.2 (h) x 167.2 (w) cm
103.1 (h) x 133.6 (w) cm
frame 137.2 (h) x 168.1 (w) x 8.0 (d) cm
34.0 (h) x 21.8 (w) cm
box 30.0 (h) x 24.4 (w) x 4.0 (d) cm
122.0 (h) x 172.5 (w) cm
213.8 (h) x 213.3 (w) cm
51.0 (h) x 32.0 (w) cm
270.8 (h) x 210.4 (w) cm
18.0 (h) x 30.5 (w) x 12.5 (d) cm
96.5 (h) x 129.5 (w) cm
173.0 (h) x 173.0 (w) cm
137.2 (h) x 185.1 (w) cm
233.0 (h) x 193.0 (w) cm
212.1 (h) x 488.9 (w) cm
installed (variable) 360.0 (h) x 300.0 (w) cm
155.0 (h) x 118.7 (w) cm
149.9 (h) x 139.7 (w) x 5.1 (d) cm
backing board 165.0 (h) x 165.0 (w) cm
29.5 (h) x 37.6 (w) x 15.6 (d) cm
201.0 (h) x 169.0 (w) cm
35.9 (h) x 36.1 (w) x 36.0 (d) cm
closed 49.1 (h) x 30.5 (w) x 30.5 (d) cm
27.1 (h) x 44.8 (w) x 28.6 (d) cm
247.7 (h) x 172.5 (w) cm
27.3 (h) x 33.8 (w) x 25.4 (d) cm
32.8 (h) x 23.4 (w) x 19.6 (d) cm
13.8 (h) x 12.8 (w) x 2.5 (d) cm
lying flat 2.5 (h) x 13.8 (w) x 12.8 (d) cm
15.0 (h) x 7.4 (w) x 2.41 (d) cm
lying flat 2.41 (h) x 15.0 (w) x 7.4 (d) cm
175.3 (h) x 248.9 (w) cm
frame 1788 (h) x 2525 (w) x 55 (d) cm
146.0 (h) x 110.1 (w) x 5.0 (d) cm
24.3 (h) x 37.2 (w) x 14.8 (d) cm
52.0 (h) x 124.4 (w) x 15.4 (d) cm
122.2 (h) x 81.2 (w) cm
274.5 (h) x 71.0 (w) x 11.3 (d) cm
62.0 (h) x 44.5 (w) x 35.0 (d) cm
48.75 (h) x 42.5 (w) x 37.5 (d) cm
20.1 (h) cm 2.0 cm (diameter)
16.1 (h) cm 1.6 cm (diameter)
16.1 (h) cm 1.6 cm (diameter)
irregular 40.0 (h) x 40.5 (w) x 4.6 (d) cm
irregular 68.6 (h) x 68.6 (w) x 8.0 (d) cm
object 14.6 (h) x 46.5 (w) x 13.8 (d) cm
text 30.4 (h) x 30.4 (w) cm
324.4 (h) x 282.7 (w) cm
42.5 (h) x 36.5 (w) x 39.5 (d) cm
284.0 (h) x 363.2 (w) x 111.8 (d) cm
overall (approx.) 76.6 (h) x 77 (w) cm
sheet a 76.3 (h) x 38.5 (w) cm
sheet b 76.6 (h) x 38 (w) cm
75.7 (h) x 77 (w) cm
comp 15.0 (h) x 25.0 (w) x 25.0 (d) cm
cassette 1.2 (h) cm 12.8 cm (diameter)
reel
75.5 (h) x 55.9 (w) cm
A 28.6 (h) x 28.6 (w) x 23.2 (d) cm
B 28.0 (h) x 28.9 (w) x 23.6 (d) cm
irregular 114.5 (h) x 115.0 (w) x 6.5 (d) cm
approx. 76.2 (h) x 58.4 (w) cm
open 19.6 (h) x 18.4 (w) x 0.9 (d) cm
closed 19.6 (h) x 9.0 (w) x 1.9 (d) cm
121.5 (h) x 71.4 (w) cm
184.0 (h) x 136.0 (w) cm
installed (approx.) 152.4 (h) x 620.0 (w) cm
each 152.4 (h) x 203.4 (w) cm
195.7 (h) x 305.6 (w) cm
page 10.8 (h) x 7.6 (w) cm
external 11.5 (h) x 8.4 (w) x 3.4 (d) cm
approx. size open 11.5 (h) x 15.0 (w) cm
122.0 (h) x 152.4 (w) cm
200.0 (h) x 161.5 (w) cm
73.0 (h) x 58.4 (w) cm
frame 103.5 (h) x 86.5 (w) cm
274.2 (h) x 113.0 (w) cm
31.8 (h) x 43.4 (w) cm
sight 36.8 (h) x 52.5 (w) cm
framed 40.6 (h) x 56.4 (w) x 1.7 (d) cm
27.3 (h) x 21.5 (w) cm
300.0 (h) x 432.0 (w) x 257.0 (d) cm
74.8 (h) x 39.2 (w) x 36.2 (d) cm
151.0 (h) x 61.0 (w) x 43.0 (d) cm
210.1 (h) x 144.1 (w) cm
4 panels 210.0 (h) x 530.0 (w) cm
framed 211.4 (h) x 145.0 (w) x 5.7 (d) cm
210.0 (h) x 121.0 (w) cm
4 panels 210.0 (h) x 530.0 (w) cm
framed 211.0 (h) x 121.4 (w) x 5.7 (d) cm
210.0 (h) x 121.0 (w) cm
4 panels 210.0 (h) x 530.0 (w) cm
framed 211.3 (h) x 121.2 (w) x 5.7 (d) cm
210.0 (h) x 144.0 (w) cm
4 panels 210.0 (h) x 530.0 (w) cm
framed 211.3 (h) x 144.8 (w) x 5.7 (d) cm
294.0 (h) x 547.0 (w) cm
257.2 (h) x 314.6 (w) cm
frame 280 (h) x 337.5 (w) x 10 (d) cm
46.9 (h) x 32.7 (w) x 17.5 (d) cm
maximum 108.0 (h) x 79.0 (w) x 0.9 (d) cm
minimum 102.1 (h) x 79.0 (w) x 0.9 (d) cm
framed (maximum) 126.5 (h) x 87.7 (w) x 6.0 (d) cm
framed (minimum) 114.5 (h) x 87.7 (w) x 6.0 (d) cm
framed (overall) 126.5 (h) x 354.0 (w) x 6.0 (d) cm
299.0 (h) x 399.0 (w) cm
731.5 (h) x 731.5 (w) x 1005.8 (d) cm
184.4 (h) x 224.4 (w) cm
210.0 (h) x 144.4 (w) cm
20.0 (h) x 26.1 (w) cm
overall (variable) 58.4 (h) x 457.2 (w) x 35.5 (d) cm
330.0 (h) x 550.0 (w) cm
244.0 (h) x 244.0 (w) x 14.0 (d) cm
174.7 (h) x 177.9 (w) cm
369.5 (h) x 260.0 (w) cm
80.25 (h) x 65.5 (w) x 44.5 (d) cm
50.0 (h) x 58.0 (w) x 24.5 (d) cm
189.2 (h) x 294.8 (w) cm
installation (variable) 350.0 (h) x 630.0 (w) x 109.0 (d) cm
overall 207.0 (h) x 744.2 (w) cm
irregular 21.2 (h) x 9.9 (w) cm
310 (h) x 244.5 (w) cm
195.0 (h) cm 300.0 cm (diameter)
400.0 (h) x 380.0 (w) x 12.0 (d) cm
199.5 (h) x 183.0 (w) cm
160.6 (h) x 215.5 (w) cm
installed 200.0 (h) x 574.0 (w) x 25.0 (d) cm
each 200.0 (h) x 181.0 (w) x 25.0 (d) cm
259.1 (h) x 701.0 (w) cm
183.0 (h) x 213.0 (w) cm
169.0 (h) x 359.0 (w) cm
framed 201.5 (h) x 395.0 (w) cm
overall 335.3 (h) x 304.8 (w) x 121.9 (d) cm
247.0 (h) x 548.0 (w) x 247.0 (d) cm
92.8 (h) x 72.6 (w) x 27.2 (d) cm
33.0 (h) x 22.5 (w) x 14.0 (d) cm
120.0 (h) x 52.5 (w) x 40.0 (d) cm
overall 221.0 (h) x 423.7 (w) cm
left panel 221.0 (h) x 141.0 (w) cm
centre panel 221.0 (h) x 140.7 (w) cm
right panel 220.4 (h) x 142.0 (w) cm
250.0 (h) x 250.0 (w) x 30.0 (d) cm
each 190.0 (h) x 137.2 (w) cm
open 154.8 (h) x 146.2 (w) x 29.0 (d) cm
closed 150.2 (h) x 75.6 (w) x 30.7 (d) cm
open 132.2 (h) x 157.6 (w) x 32.9 (d) cm
closed 71.1 (h) x 91.3 (w) x 32.9 (d) cm
open 46.0 (h) x 148.8 (w) x 20.8 (d) cm
closed 46.0 (h) x 92.1 (w) x 20.8 (d) cm
open 91.4 (h) x 121.5 (w) x 64.9 (d) cm
closed 91.4 (h) x 91.2 (w) x 35.8 (d) cm
open 171.0 (h) x 79.5 (w) x 38.2 (d) cm
closed 91.5 (h) x 79.5 (w) x 38.2 (d) cm
70.0 (h) x 91.2 (w) x 30.2 (d) cm
205.0 (h) x 67.0 (w) x 53.5 (d) cm
213.5 (h) x 75.0 (w) x 102.5 (d) cm
297.0 (h) x 89.0 (w) x 135.0 (d) cm
203.5 (h) x 131.0 (w) x 42.5 (d) cm
206.0 (h) x 92.0 (w) x 99.5 (d) cm
209.0 (h) x 80.0 (w) x 75.5 (d) cm
98.0 (h) x 33.0 (w) x 42.5 (d) cm
91.3 (h) x 70.8 (w) cm
original canvas 94.0 (h) x 70.8 (w) cm
sight 83.5 (h) x 61.8 (w) cm
frame 112 (h) x 89 (w) x 12 (d) cm
275.0 (h) x 213.0 (w) cm
7.9 (h) x 3.2 (w) x 3.4 (d) cm
16.5 (h) x 915.0 (w) x 182.0 (d) cm
table 77.5 (h) x 127.0 (w) x 57.0 (d) cm
Installation (variable) 300.0 (h) x 500.00 (w) x 600.0 (d) cm
Duration 20.47 (h) cm
installation (variable) 350.0 (h) x 600.0 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
1 300.0 (h) x 90.0 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
2 317.0 (h) x 111.0 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
3 318.0 (h) x 92.0 (w) x 11.5 (d) cm
4 292.0 (h) x 100.0 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
5 287.0 (h) x 111.0 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
installation (variable) 410.0 (h) x 656.0 (w) x 800.0 (d) cm
projection size 300.0 (h) x 400.0 (w) cm
19.9 (h) cm 2.0 cm (diameter)
16.1 (h) cm 1.6 cm (diameter)
19.6 (h) cm 1.9 cm (diameter)
428.0 (h) x 136.3 (w) cm
installation (variable)
65.0 (h) x 26.7 (w) x 22.0 (d) cm
canvas 248.5 (h) x 162.5 (w) cm
34.0 (h) x 17.8 (w) x 15.9 (d) cm
diameter 4.9 cm (diameter)
41.5 (h) x 40.2 (w) x 21.9 (d) cm
25.4 (h) x 37.3 (w) x 37.6 (d) cm
19.5 (h) cm 2.0 cm (diameter)
205.5 (h) x 137.0 (w) cm
33.0 (h) x 14.3 (w) x 14.0 (d) cm
152.6 (h) x 152.4 (w) cm
27.7 (h) cm
183.0 (h) x 121.8 (w) cm
78.8 (h) x 152.4 (w) x 76.2 (d) cm
installation 250.0 (h) x 1000.0 (w) x 242.5 (d) cm
173.1 (h) x 200.5 (w) cm
irregular 21.1 (h) x 9.8 (w) cm
irregular 21.0 (h) x 9.8 (w) cm
frame 128.0 (h) x 92.2 (w) x 4.8 (d) cm
dimensions variable
sheet 25.3 (h) x 17.5 (w) cm
irregular 68.6 (h) x 68.6 (w) x 8.0 (d) cm
irregular 94.0 (h) x 120.0 (w) x 14.0 (d) cm
irregular 182.5 (h) x 182.0 (w) x 17.0 (d) cm
diameter 5.5 cm (diameter)
223.0 (h) x 310.5 (w) cm
largest composition 200.0 (h) x 200.0 (w) cm
smallest composition 41.4 (h) x 59.0 (w) cm
drawing 42.8 (h) x 60.2 (w) x 2.5 (d) cm
27.6 (h) x 18.0 (w) x 10.8 (d) cm
22.2 (h) x 20.8 (w) x 29.2 (d) cm
overall 233.8 (h) x 270.0 (w) cm
181.5 (h) x 243.0 (w) cm
27.5 (h) x 17.0 (w) x 9.0 (d) cm
102.2 (h) x 127.0 (w) cm
800.0 (h) x 213.0 (w) x 120.0 (d) cm
141.0 (h) x 188.0 (w) cm
installed 311.0 (h) x 308.0 (w) x 35.0 (d) cm
24.2 (h) x 43.2 (w) x 33.0 (d) cm
24.2 (h) x 43.2 (w) x 33.0 (d) cm
183.3 cm (diameter)
61.4 (h) x 71.4 (w) cm
165.0 (h) x 156.7 (w) x 16.6 (d) cm
25.5 (h) x 53.3 (w) x 53.7 (d) cm
95.5 (h) x 560.4 (w) cm
174.5 (h) x 170.5 (w) cm
200.0 (h) x 22.8 (w) cm
irregular 21.0 (h) x 9.8 (w) cm
each 12.7 (h) x 17.8 (w) cm
installation (variable)
31.8 (h) x 22.2 (w) x 22.4 (d) cm
photograph (each) 26.0 (h) x 21.0 (w) cm
26.0 (h) x 38.6 (w) x 36.4 (d) cm
29.5 (h) x 21.8 (w) x 22.2 (d) cm
195.7 (h) x 546.4 (w) x 574.4 (d) cm
installed (approx.) 122.0 (h) x 406.0 (w) cm
each 122.0 (h) x 122.0 (w) cm
33.0 (h) x 386.1 (w) cm
135.0 (h) x 233.0 (w) x 57.0 (d) cm
184.2 (h) x 174.0 (w) cm
25.5 (h) x 45.5 (w) cm
50.0 (h) x 48.0 (w) x 47.0 (d) cm
installation 250.0 (h) x 250.0 (w) cm
overall 243.8 (h) x 553.7 (w) x 391.2 (d) cm
floor piece 5.0 (h) x 317.5 (w) x 391.2 (d) cm
panel (each) 243.8 (h) x 142.2 (w) cm
30.2 (h) x 120.0 (w) x 9.9 (d) cm
120.0 (h) x 160.0 (w) x 10.0 (d) cm
4.25 (h) x 28.5 (w) x 8.7 (d) cm
32.6 (h) x 41.0 (w) cm
framed 44.6 (h) x 51.0 (w) cm
26.5 (h) x 60.5 (w) x 40.0 (d) cm
25.4 (h) x 51.9 (w) x 34.2 (d) cm
17.5 (h) x 65.4 (w) x 45.0 (d) cm
dimensions variable
196.0 cm (diameter)
32.0 (h) x 29.0 (w) x 13.5 (d) cm
overall 198.5 (h) x 396.7 (w) cm
left canvas 198.5 (h) x 198.4 (w) cm
right canvas 198.5 (h) x 198.3 (w) cm
overall 183.0 (h) x 183.0 (w) cm
left panel 183.0 (h) x 91.5 (w) cm
right panel 183.0 (h) x 91.5 (w) cm
267.7 (h) x 382.5 (w) cm
installed (variable) 350.0 (h) x 90.0 (w) cm
overall (variable) 500.0 (h) x 500.0 (w) x 1100.0 (d) cm
7.0 (h) x 29.0 (w) x 10.0 (d) cm
10.5 cm (diameter)
overall 9.8 (h) x 7.9 (w) x 9.0 (d) cm
30.0 (h) x 243.8 (w) x 243.8 (d) cm
30.0 (h) x 243.8 (w) x 243.8 (d) cm
203.2 (h) x 274.3 (w) cm
259.0 (h) x 185.5 (w) cm
24.5 (h) x 32.5 (w) x 7.2 (d) cm
21.2 (h) x 30.0 (w) x 14.1 (d) cm
80.4 (h) x 494.8 (w) cm
228.3 (h) x 610.0 (w) cm
120.0 (h) x 210.0 (w) cm
installation (approx.) 312.0 (h) x 190.5 (w) x 90.0 (d) cm
figure 211.0 (h) x 190.5 (w) x 3.0 (d) cm
glass 1.0 (h) x 90.0 (w) x 90.0 (d) cm
overall (variable) 7.5 (h) x 25.0 (w) x 25.0 (d) cm
A 7.5 (h) x 14.0 (w) x 12.0 (d) cm
B 3.5 (h) x 6.5 (w) x 4.7 (d) cm
282.0 (h) x 96.5 (w) cm
224.3 (h) x 519.0 (w) cm
irregular 13.6 (h) x 22.6 (w) cm
irregular 10.4 (h) x 19.2 (w) cm
irregular 14.4 (h) x 20.8 (w) cm
irregular 13.0 (h) x 21.6 (w) cm
overall 295.0 (h) x 450.0 (w) x 8.5 (d) cm
left canvas 295.0 (h) x 138.5 (w) cm
centre canvas 295.0 (h) x 192.0 (w) cm
right canvas 295.0 (h) x 117.9 (w) cm
54.6 (h) x 93.1 (w) cm
overall 61.0 (h) x 60.0 (w) x 60.0 (d) cm
upper block 28.5 (h) x 53.5 (w) x 53.5 (d) cm
lower block 38.0 (h) x 60.0 (w) x 60.0 (d) cm
111.6 (h) x 118.0 (w) x 3.2 (d) cm
319.4 (h) x 390.6 (w) cm
160.0 (h) x 172.7 (w) cm
294.9 (h) x 579.5 (w) cm
installed (approx.) 252.7 (h) x 151.8 (w) x 109.2 (d) cm
lead roll 243.5 (h) x 9.8 (w) cm
lead sheet 151.8 (h) x 151.8 (w) cm
345.0 (h) x 508.5 (w) x 459.0 (d) cm
irregular 36.0 (h) x 220.0 (w) x 220.0 (d) cm
each 36.0 (h) x 122.0 (w) cm
installed 5.0 (h) x 304.8 (w) x 609.6 (d) cm
overall 306.1 (h) x 600.1 (w) x 20.0 (d) cm
overall 182.9 (h) x 182.9 (w) x 17.7 (d) cm
269.2 (h) x 322.6 (w) cm
overall 100.0 (h) x 220.0 (w) cm
cloth 125.5 (h) x 248.5 (w) cm
board 76.0 (h) x 192.7 (w) cm
539.0 (h) x 200.0 (w) x 115.0 (d) cm
support 46.0 (h) x 37.6 (w) cm
overall 311.3 (h) x 158.5 (w) cm
1 311.3 (h) x 158.5 (w) cm
2 244.5 (h) x 159.0 (w) cm
3 188.0 (h) x 158.0 (w) cm
38.0 (h) x 45.0 (w) x 40.0 (d) cm
18.1 (h) x 13.0 (w) x 43.2 (d) cm
8.0 cm (diameter)
6.7 (h) x 305.5 (w) cm
256.2 (h) x 162.0 (w) x 129.9 (d) cm
canvas (each) 101.6 (h) x 101.6 (w) cm
dimensions variable
234.0 (h) x 294.9 (w) cm
90.8 (h) x 86.4 (w) x 14.4 (d) cm
90.4 (h) x 24.4 (w) x 24.4 (d) cm
56.0 (h) x 135.0 (w) x 132.0 (d) cm
244.0 (h) x 274.5 (w) cm
128 (h) x 50 (w) x 26 (d) cm
label 122 (h) x 44 (w) cm
167.4 (h) x 193.0 (w) x 82.3 (d) cm
74.8 (h) x 66.0 (w) x 29.2 (d) cm
41.6 (h) x 13.8 (w) x 16.8 (d) cm
59.0 (h) x 20.0 (w) x 17.0 (d) cm
240.0 (h) x 90.0 (w) x 67.0 (d) cm
34.5 (h) x 38.3 (w) x 14.0 (d) cm
variable 31.0 (h) x 51.0 (w) x 35.8 (d) cm
overall (approx.) 122.5 (h) cm 37.1 cm (diameter)
object 115.0 (h) cm 29.2 cm (diameter)
base 7.5 (h) cm 37.1 cm (diameter)
140.0 (h) x 122.5 (w) cm
Frame 154 (h) x 136 (w) x 6 (d) cm
258.9 (h) x 213.5 (w) cm
32.9 (h) x 60.0 (w) cm
41.0 (h) x 51.0 (w) cm
68.6 (h) x 63.2 (w) cm
125.0 (h) x 216.0 (w) cm
overall 106.0 (h) x 45.7 (w) x 45.7 (d) cm
each 8.7 (h) x 8.7 (w) x 45.7 (d) cm
60.9 (h) x 60.9 (w) cm
installation 104.14 (h) x 304.8 (w) x 304.8 (d) cm
dimensions variable
80.4 (h) x 100.4 (w) cm
frame 82.8 (h) x 102.9 (w) x 6 (d) cm
66.5 (h) x 23.0 (w) x 10.6 (d) cm
152.4 (h) x 153.0 (w) cm
overall (approx.) 1500.0 (h) x 600.0 (w) cm
installed (approx.) 183.0 (h) x 137.0 (w) cm
overall 126.5 (h) cm
stool 50.4 (h) cm
wheel 64.8 cm (diameter)
36.2 (h) x 29.2 (w) x 16.5 (d) cm
65.0 (h) x 92.0 (w) cm
frame 87.0 (h) x 114.0 (w) cm
48.9 (h) x 36.2 (w) x 12.7 (d) cm
288.0 (h) x 493.5 (w) cm
79.1 (h) x 89.1 (w) x 41.3 (d) cm
56.9 (h) x 44.7 (w) x 36.6 (d) cm
99.0 (h) x 278.0 (w) x 36.0 (d) cm
overall (variable) 210.0 (h) x 390.0 (w) cm
overall 233.0 (h) x 632.0 (w) x 60.0 (d) cm
each 233.0 (h) x 126.4 (w) x 60.0 (d) cm
88.7 (h) x 442.1 (w) x 122.0 (d) cm
48.6 (h) x 30.5 (w) x 12.2 (d) cm
18.5 (h) x 25.8 (w) x 4.8 (d) cm
222.0 (h) x 175.0 (w) cm
140.0 (h) x 316.5 (w) cm
installed (approx.) 30.0 (h) x 100.0 (w) x 130.0 (d) cm
sphere 28.0 (h) x 38.0 (w) x 34.0 (d) cm
duration 5.00 (h) cm
418.2 (h) x 179.0 (w) cm
396.0 (h) x 274.0 (w) cm
201.0 (h) x 246.5 (w) x 28.2 (d) cm
30.5 (h) x 45.8 (w) cm
35.2 (h) x 53.4 (w) cm
37.8 (h) x 32.7 (w) x 1.6 (d) cm
installation variable
canvas 173.0 (h) x 271.0 (w) cm
frame 176.0 (h) x 274.0 (w) x 4.0 (d) cm
overall 190.4 (h) x 43.2 (w) x 36.8 (d) cm
182.8 (h) x 152.4 (w) cm
154.5 (h) x 114.5 (w) cm
framed 157.5 (h) x 116.2 (w) cm
208.0 (h) x 91.0 (w) cm
Frame 210.0 (h) x 93.0 (w) x 5.0 (d) cm
overall 239 (h) x 108 (w) cm
302.5 (h) x 224.5 (w) cm
236.3 (h) x 190.8 (w) cm
277.0 (h) x 307.5 (w) cm
250.0 (h) x 198.0 (w) cm
252.0 (h) x 78.0 (w) x 72.0 (d) cm
253.5 (h) x 336.5 (w) cm
46.0 (h) x 55.0 (w) cm
frame 107.2 (h) x 112.2 (w) x 14.0 (d) cm
8.8 cm (diameter)
8.5 cm (diameter)
53.5 (h) x 30.5 (w) x 10.5 (d) cm
99.8 cm (diameter)
130.0 (h) x 97.4 (w) cm
overall 132.0 (h) x 784.0 (w) cm
canvas (each) 132.0 (h) x 196.0 (w) cm
196.8 (h) x 135.3 (w) cm
179.0 (h) x 282.0 (w) cm
26.2 (h) x 12.2 (w) x 5.7 (d) cm
97.8 (h) x 134.7 (w) cm
97.8 (h) x 134.7 (w) cm
installed 10.0 (h) x 620.0 (w) x 450.0 (d) cm
21.8 (h) x 40.6 (w) cm
framed 38.2 (h) x 57.8 (w) cm
installation 243.7 (h) x 10.2 (w) x 182.8 (d) cm
panel (each) 121.8 (h) x 183.0 (w) x 5.1 (d) cm
91.2 (h) x 45.5 (w) x 8.1 (d) cm
40.8 (h) x 51.0 (w) cm
103.0 (h) x 145.0 (w) cm
30.6 (h) x 40.8 (w) cm
frame 60.0 (h) x 70.0 (w) x 6.0 (d) cm
65.5 (h) x 72.5 (w) cm
220.0 (h) x 200.0 (w) cm
canvas (each) 244.0 (h) x 172.7 (w) cm
overall 244.0 (h) x 376.0 (w) cm
54.6 (h) x 14.9 (w) x 5.4 (d) cm
122.0 (h) x 14.8 (w) x 5.4 (d) cm
200.0 (h) x 200.0 (w) cm
124.2 (h) x 47.4 (w) cm
framed 150.7 (h) x 74.0 (w) x 9.0 (d) cm
101.3 (h) x 153.3 (w) cm
frame 126.0 (h) x 178.0 (w) cm
162.8 (h) x 33.2 (w) x 29.6 (d) cm
33.3 (h) x 102.2 (w) x 45.1 (d) cm
65.5 (h) x 47.5 (w) x 21.0 (d) cm
89.5 (h) x 57.5 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
framed 126.1 (h) x 99.3 (w) x 25.3 (d) cm
20.6 (h) x 13.0 (w) x 13.3 (d) cm
panel 114.5 (h) x 88.5 (w) cm
framed 136.0 (h) x 113.5 (w) x 5.8 (d) cm
136.0 (h) x 113.5 (w) x 25.3 (d) cm
box 118.5 (h) x 103.0 (w) x 18.8 (d) cm
45.9 (h) x 37.9 (w) cm
frame 64.0 (h) x 57.0 (w) cm
42.2 (h) x 34.6 (w) cm
frame 61.1 (h) x 53.0 (w) x 7 (d) cm
46.3 (h) x 54.9 (w) cm
frame 68.0 (h) x 76.0 (w) cm
Support 27.0 (h) x 21.5 (w) cm
canvas 244.7 (h) x 406.7 (w) x 14 (d) cm
33.0 (h) x 35.0 (w) x 26.5 (d) cm
53.0 (h) x 35.6 (w) x 34.8 (d) cm
65.6 (h) x 100.6 (w) cm
frame 97.0 (h) x 131.0 (w) cm
64.6 (h) x 81.2 (w) cm
frame 95.0 (h) x 111.0 (w) cm
37.0 (h) x 45.0 (w) cm
frame 62.3 (h) x 70.7 (w) x 10.5 (d) cm
46.0 (h) x 55.0 (w) cm
frame 66.0 (h) x 77.0 (w) cm
23.5 (h) x 44.0 (w) cm
30.5 (h) x 21.7 (w) x 5.8 (d) cm
97.0 (h) x 44.5 (w) cm
box frame 134.2 (h) x 81.5 (w) x 8 (d) cm
195.6 (h) x 223.5 (w) cm
overall 19.0 (h) x 14.9 (w) x 14.9 (d) cm
iron & base 17.9 (h) x 14.9 (w) x 14.9 (d) cm
glass cover 19.0 (h) cm
54.0 (h) x 73.0 (w) cm
Frame 75.6 (h) x 94.8 (w) x 5.5 (d) cm
92.0 (h) x 145.0 (w) cm
frame 155 (w) cm
343.0 (h) x 172.0 (w) cm
122.5 (h) x 154.0 (w) cm
181.0 (h) x 201.6 (w) cm
frame 210.0 (h) x 228.0 (w) cm
58.0 (h) x 70.6 (w) x 5.9 (d) cm
framed 129.9 (h) x 195.5 (w) cm
15.6 (h) x 24.5 (w) cm
with cradle 16.6 (h) x 25.2 (w) cm
frame 53 (w) cm
272.0 (h) x 429.0 (w) cm
100.0 (h) x 73.0 (w) cm
300.0 (h) x 250.0 (w) cm
comp 183.4 (h) x 183.4 (w) x 4.0 (d) cm
panel a 183.4 (h) x 91.7 (w) x 4.0 (d) cm
panel b 183.4 (h) x 91.7 (w) x 4.0 (d) cm
278.2 (h) x 134.1 (w) x 70.1 (d) cm
overall 241.2 (h) x 155.5 (w) x 72.8 (d) cm
49.8 (h) x 75.8 (w) cm
183.9 (h) x 152.8 (w) cm
299.0 (h) x 268.5 (w) cm
137.4 (h) x 214.5 (w) x 28.9 (d) cm
350.5 (h) x 169.5 (w) x 40.0 (d) cm
73.5 (h) x 330.0 (w) x 330.0 (d) cm
83.9 (h) x 177.0 (w) x 93.7 (d) cm
182.5 (h) x 290.0 (w) cm
200.0 (h) x 100.0 (w) cm
185.5 (h) x 198.2 (w) cm
195.0 (h) x 130.0 (w) cm
68.6 (h) x 56.0 (w) cm
35.0 (h) x 74.2 (w) x 9.2 (d) cm
frame 95.0 (h) x 132.0 (w) cm
183.4 (h) x 183.4 (w) cm
191.5 (h) x 395.0 (w) x 6.0 (d) cm
installed 226.4 (h) x 212.3 (w) x 10.8 (d) cm
canvas 213.5 (h) x 212.3 (w) x 3.8 (d) cm
198.4 (h) x 198.4 (w) cm
182.9 (h) x 182.9 (w) cm
183.3 (h) x 183.6 (w) cm
179.5 (h) x 205.0 (w) cm
183.0 (h) x 153.0 (w) cm
274.0 (h) x 274.0 (w) cm
44.7 (h) x 57.6 (w) x 21.0 (d) cm
overall 238.1 (h) x 85.1 (w) x 47.2 (d) cm
255.2 (h) x 182.4 (w) x 70.0 (d) cm
51.2 (h) x 60.9 (w) x 6.4 (d) cm
installation 101.6 (h) x 736.6 (w) x 101.6 (d) cm
each 101.6 (h) x 101.6 (w) x 101.6 (d) cm
inscribed, stamped red ink, monogram, not dated
Purchased 1979
NGA 1979.2970.1-6
Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom purchased by the Australian National Gallery, June 1979
signed l.r., red/brown oil, "G. Garouste", not dated
Purchased 1983
NGA 1984.468
© Gerard Garouste. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia
Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, September 1983
signed and dated l.r., oil, "F LEGER 54" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.1679 © Fernand Léger. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Trapeze artists was commissioned by Douglas Cooper, the well-known historian of Cubism and collector of the works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger. Cooper commissioned the painting specifically for the stairwell of his house, the Château de Castille at Argilliers, Gard, in the south of France. In correspondence with the Gallery, Cooper related the circumstances of the commission:

I bought the Château de Castille about one mile from the Pont du Gard and some fifteen miles from Nîmes in 1950. It was an old chateau, which had been internally rearranged at the end of the eighteenth century and had been left neglected since the mid-1930's. I therefore had a great deal of restoration [to do] in order to make it habitable. A rather splendid, broad staircase went from the ground floor to the second floor, and at the first floor landing, which was rather narrow, there was a tall bare wall which called for some special treatment. Fernand Léger, an old friend of mine and several of whose paintings and drawings I owned, was my first house-guest. I showed him this wall and suggested that, as he was always looking for large dreary wall surfaces to 'destroy' (his own word) with a colourful painting, here was a splendid opportunity. Léger welcomed the opportunity and we discussed possible subject-matter. I showed him a large lithograph with a group of trapezists which appeared in a book he had recently published called Le Cirque and said I thought this would be an excellent solution.1 Léger agreed, and then I asked him to add some of his favourite birds-parrots and doves. But after examining the wall on which the painting was to be executed, we discovered that its surface was not only uneven but also full of cracks. So we decided that the painting would have to be done on a specially cut and shaped canvas would cover the whole wall.

Léger finished the painting at Gif-sur-Yvette, where he lived, in late July 1954, and the painting was installed in my stairwell in September. With its brilliant colours and simulated movement it looked marvellous; the dead and limiting area of the wall became animated and entered into the surrounding space. I was very attracted to this painting which I always regarded as a major achievement.2

Because of the size of the painting it was carried out in a garage adjacent to Léger's studio at Gif-sur-Yvette.3 Having developed a gouache study for the painting from the Cirque print, it seems likely, as has been stated by John Richardson (who was living at the Château de Castille at the time) that Léger was prepared to oversee the execution of the huge painting 'largely by assistants'.4 He frequently employed assistants in his later years to cope with the numerous commissions for large-scale public works.

In 1964 Douglas Cooper decided to sand-blast the walls of the Château de Castille to remove the plaster and reveal the original stonework. In this operation the painting received a small tear in the canvas and in the process of repairing the damage Cooper had the painting backed on a plywood panel. This caused a problem when he sold the Château in 1976 and tried to remove the painting from the stairwell. 'It proved too big (on a panel) to get down the stairs and out of the house', Cooper wrote. 'So in order to get it loose it had to be specially sawn by my restorer. After that, he unstuck it from the 3 ply panel-now in two parts-and joined it up by re-lining on another canvas',5 hence the seam which runs vertically down the painting, slightly to the right of centre.

The Musée National Fernand Léger, Biot, has issued a limited edition of tapestries based on the Trapeze artists, though at 2.94 x 2.80 metres, they are considerably smaller than the original painting.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.270.

  1. Cirque was commissioned by E. Tériade and published by Les Editions Verve, Paris, 1950. The lithograph referred to occupied a double page, pp.52-3.
  2. Douglas Cooper, correspondence with the Gallery, 24 March 1983.
  3. John Richardson, Au Château des Cubistes', L'Oeil, no. 4, 15 April 1955, p.20.
  4. John Richardson, 'Remembering Douglas Cooper', New York Review of Books, 25 April 1985, p.24.
  5. Douglas Cooper, correspondence with the Gallery, 19 January 1981
View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated l.l., oil, "Arthur Hacker 1906" Gift of S.H. Ervin 1962 NGA 1962.66 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2147 © Jean Tinguely. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Meta-mecanique (Meta-Herbin) 1954 is one of a group of related works made by Tinguely in 1954-55 and given the umbrella title of Meta-mechanical sculpture. This name was provided by Pontus Hulten who recalls:

The question as to what Tinguely's machines ought to be called had arisen with his first exhibition. None of the names that had been suggested — automata, mechanical sculptures, mobiles — was really satisfactory; the last was too closely associated with Calder. My suggestion was 'meta-mechanical', by analogy with 'metaphysical', and on one of my daily visits to the Bibliothèque Nationale I was able to check in the Grand Dictionnaire Larousse that 'meta' can be used to mean 'with' and 'after' — which seemed just right. Also the association of ideas with words like 'metaphor' and 'metamorphosis' seemed to me to be very appropriate.1

The broad label of Meta-mechanical sculpture encompasses a smaller series of works, the Meta-Herbins of which the sculpture in the Australian National Gallery collection is a typical example. In all, there are six sculptures sub-titled Meta-Herbin, characterised by a tripod stand, wire braces and cog wheels, painted sheet-metal elements and a small electric motor providing the motive power.2

The title of this group refers to the French artist Auguste Herbin (1882-1960) and, like the series named Meta-Malevich and Meta-Kandinsky, also made at this time, pays homage — if rather mischievously — to an early exponent of abstract art. The reference to Herbin's work is apparent in the brightly painted triangular and circular shapes of the sculpture, which rotate as the sculpture moves, forming different configurations or 'compositions'. 'I was trying to get away from the imperative, the power of these artists …', said Tinguely; 'I began to use movement simply to make a recreation. It was a way of doing a painting so that it would become infinite — it would go on making new compositions with the help of the physical and mechanical movements I gave it. Then I gradually understood that movement was an expressive possibility in itself'.3

The movement of Meta-mecanique (Meta-Herbin), as with most of Tinguely's machines, is a deliberate travesty of mechanical precision; the sire sprockets bend and jump the cogs, the machine moves in unpredictable shudders. It would certainly destroy itself — simply fall apart — if run continuously.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.237.

  1. K.G. Pontus Hulten, Jean Tinguely: 'Meta', London: Thames and Hudson, 1975, p.16.
  2. Regarding the electric motors used by Tinguely to power his sculptures, Calvin Tomkins notes that 'the French at that time were all converting their phonographs from 78 r.p.m. to 33 r.p.m.; and Tinguely found he could buy up old photograph motors for very little. At one time he had two hundred and fifty of them on hand'. (Calvin Tomkins, Ahead of the Game : Four Versions of the Avant-garde, London: Penguin Books, 1968, p.152).
  3. 'Tinguely on Tinguely'; extract from a radio debate, Radio Télevision Belge, Brussels, 13 December 1982, reprinted in Pontus Hulten, Jean Tinguely: A Magic Stronger than Death, New York: Abbeville Press, 1987, p.350.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | titled obverse relief, " SIGISMONDVS.PANDVLFVS.DE.MALATESTIS. S.RO.ECLESIE.C.GENERALIS", commemorative date reverse relief, "M.CCCC.XLVI" Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1808 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Many variants exist of de Pasti's portrait medal of Sigismondo Malatesta (1417-1468), the powerful ruler of Rimini. The early version of the head shows Malatesta in court dress, the later in armour; it is the inscription which varies most. The reverses include Rimini castle, Malatesta arms and symbols, and as here, the figure of Fortitude, holding a broken column and seated on two elephants. The Malatesta family adopted the elephant as part of their heraldry, as it stood for strength and fame.

The inscription, 's[anctae] ro[manae] eclecie c[apitanus] genera[lis]', is translated as 'Captain-general of the Holy Roman Church'. Sigismondo was granted this title in 1435 by Pope Eugenius IV, but stopped using it later as his dispute with the church worsened. Much of his conflict with the papacy concerned the granting of the vicariate to him, and then its withdrawal. Pope Pius II was a deadly enemy, and 'canonised' Sigismondo into hell.

Sigismondo was greatly concerned with his fame, his reputation in history, and in continuing the family name. As well as the monuments he built to himself and his wife Isotta, he buried hundreds of medals with their images in the walls and foundations of his castles and churches. The date 1446 is commemorative, 'the triumphal year when Sigismondo consolidated his political power, dedicated his new castle, and won Isotta as his mistress.' De' Pasti is not recorded as being in Rimini before 1449.

  1. Stephen K. Scher, p.76
  2. Alison Luchs in Stephen K. Scher (ed.), The currency of fame: Portrait medals of the Renaissance, London: Thames and Hudson 1994, p.63
View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated verso, "Houdon f. 1791" Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.551 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.1155 Provenance signed and inscribed l.l., fibre-tipped pen, "S. Arakawa/1975", signed and dated l.r., erased, "S. ARAKAWA/ 1965";
inscribed verso canvas overlap u.l., fibre-tipped pen, "(TUBES) ARAKAWA 1965", verso canvas overlap u.r., fibre-tippet pen, "ARAKAWA 1964-65 NY NY City", verso c.r "(Tubes)" and verso c.r., fibre-tipped pen, "ARAKAWA 1964-65 at N.Y. City" Purchased 1978 NGA 1981.3073 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Arakawa established his career during the 1960s in New York with paintings that combined words and schematic images, playing off the ambiguities between verbal and visual languages. Before he left Japan in 1961 he completed two diagram-like works in pencil on canvas and ink on photographic paper that announced the direction his art was to take in the United States. Describing the origins of these works, Arakawa said: 'Personal things were distressing me. With the diagrams I wanted to map my mental state.'

Arakawa continued to identify pictorial equivalents for an idea or 'mental state' in his first pieces made in New York, especially the Bottomless series, which he began in 1963. These works typically depicted a square form diminishing in perspective, much like a funnel with an interior mapped by endlessly subdividing grids. According to Arakawa's wife, the poet Madeline Gins, these images represent 'the thinking field ... which as far as we know ... is itself bottomless ... through which a volume of thought may pass'. In some of the Bottomless series of 1964 and 1965 a circular channel emerges from the diagram. The metaphor was extended and refined with the images of diagrammatic tubes which appeared in Arakawa's work in 1964. These open-ended structures were intended 'as visualisations of thought passages, and as such representations of some behaviour or aspect of the thinking field'.

Tubes 1965 is one of the earliest paintings by Arakawa using diagrammatic tubes, a motif that appears in a number of works of the mid-1960s and again in the 1970s. Tubes was begun in New York in 1964 and completed in 1965. The painting is, however, signed and dated twice-in the lower right as 1965 and as 1975 in the lower left: 'I was anticipating and incorporating the "Thickness" of a decade', explained the artist.

In 1978 the painting was damaged in transit from the vendor to the Australian National Gallery's shipping agents in London; the canvas was torn in the middle of the blank test-tube shape on the left. Tubes was returned to Arakawa in New York in 1980. He repaired it by collaging a new piece of canvas onto the damaged area which is the same test-tube shape but fractionally larger than the original shape underneath. Arakawa saw this as restoration rather than as a reworking of the painting.adapted from Michael Lloyd and Michael Desmond, European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra: 1992 pp.350-52, by Christine Dixon

  1. Paul Gardner, 'Arakawa: I am looking for a new definition of perfection', Artnews vol.79, May 1980, pp.60-5
  2. Madeline H. Gins, 'Arakawa's intention (to point, to pinpoint, to model)', in Arakawa, Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf 1977, p.14
  3. ibid.
  4. Shusaku Arakawa, correspondence with the National Gallery of Australia, 18 May 1982
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1976 NGA 1976.70 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works signed and dated, incised lower side, "Gilhooly 75" Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.1261 Provenance signed and dated l.r, inscribed into the paint, "A 64", inscribed verso, fibre-tipped pen, "Homage to the Square: On an early sky. Painting: paints used - from center: Cadmium Red. Extra Scarlet (Skiva);
Light Red (Winsor and Newton);
Cerulean Blue (B[illeg.]x);
all in one primary coat, all directly from the tube. Varnish: Varnish with Butyl Methacrylate/ polymer in xylene. Daniel Goldreyer Ltd. Dec. 1964. Albers 1964." Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.3043 © Josef Albers. Licensed by Bild-Kunst & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

From the summer of 1949 until his death in 1976, Albers worked on a series of paintings called 'Homage to the square', in which he set out to explore the interaction of colours in a regular format. In these paintings, as also expounded in his teaching and in his book The Interaction of Colour (Yale, 1963), Albers sought to demonstrate that colour is an entirely relative phenomenon; colours change constantly according to their juxtaposition and relationship with other colours. Each of the paintings in the 'Homage to the square' series is based on an arrangement of squares stacked on inside the other, evenly placed on a horizontal axis and disposed with a bias to the bottom of the composition on the vertical axis. Four different formats exist. Format A, as it is sometimes known, has four squares. Study for Homage to the square is an example of this. The other formats have only three squares, one of the internal squares being omitted to permit greater quantities of a particular colour in the arrangement. In format B the largest of the internal squares has been dispensed with, as in Homage to the square: on an early sky 1964. Formats C and D omit the intermediate and smallest squares respectively. Albers produced works in this series by first making small colour sketches which he then enlarged to a painting of 24 x 24" (60.9 x 60.9 cm) (such as Study for homage to the square), 30 x 30" (76.2 x 76.2 cm) or 32 x 32" (96.0 x 96.0 cm). These, according to Albers, were made:

to find out whether an increase of the outer scale and consequently of the inner quantities, will increase the interaction of the colors used, which for a precise record are always listed on the back of the masonite panels. (I prefer them to canvas as more durable and more wall-like) … As to the term 'Study for Homage to the Square', the stepping-up in size often demands intervals of time — sometimes through years — for continued and repeated observation as to possible improvements, intensification. All preparatory studies up to the largest and last execution — the 'widest stage of performance' — I call 'Studies' which term is not used for the sizes of 40"2 and 48"2 (the latter is the largest square available in masonite.).1

This is the size of Homage to the square: on an early sky 1964.

In Homage to the square: on an early sky the contrasts of colour are unusually intense, the light red of the middle square barely mediating between the incandescent cadmium red of the internal square and the expanse of cerulean blue. Albers only subtitled some of his works and only after they were completed. Yet such subtitles as On an early sky, with its naturalistic connotations, is revealing of Albers' sense of the lyrical power of colour and distances him from the more formal experiments of the Minimalists with whom he is often now associated as a precursor.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.282.

  1. Josef Albers, correspondence with the Tate Gallery, 16 May 1966, cited in Ronald Alley, The Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than works by British Artists, London: Tate Gallery, 1981, p.5.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | signed, stamped beneath base, "BAZILE/(illeg.) 21" Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.222.3 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.222.1 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.222.2 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.1442 © Joseph Cornell. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

This is one of a series of boxes in which Cornell evoked the luxurious grand hotels of la belle époque. Into these boxes he pasted advertisements for such hotels taken from newspapers and travel guides. The hotels mentioned on this box are the Hôtel du Cygne, the Hôtel de L'Etoile, the Hotel Three Moors, the Hotel Restaurant Nettuno and the Grand Hôtel de L'Univers. Some of these names were also used on other hotel boxes, for example clippings for the Hôtel de L'Etoile and the Grand Hôtel de L'Univers each appear on a number of boxes. In re-using the same advertisements Cornell used photomechanical reproductions. The collage material used in this box consists of photographs, with the exception of one stamp. On the inside of the box the side walls are painted white. The back wall is covered in white and dark blue enamel paint. The blue is suggestive of a night sky.

To distinguish this box from the many others dealing with the hotel theme, the Cornell Estate subtitled this box Hôtel du Cygne on the basis of the most prominent advertisement in the box. A portion of an advertisement pasted onto another hotel box, Untitled (Hôtel Beau-Séjour) c.1954, also depicts and briefly describes the Hôtel du Cygne and states that it is located at Lucerne. Built in 1836, it was the town's leading hotel until 1845. The advertisement for the Hôtel du Cygne in the Gallery's box boasts the refurbishing of the hotel in 1897, complete with electric lights, a lift and a 'grand vestibule'.

The lake at Lucerne in Switzerland was one of the fashionable resorts of the belle époque. The Hôtel du Cygne takes its name from the swans that are a feature of the lake. Cornell used the image of the swan in several works to suggest grace and melancholy, the same connotation the swan had for the French Symbolist poets he so admired.

Pasted near the centre of the box is a pale blue Belgian stamp. Cornell painted over the name of the country on the stamp, leaving it to show a portrait of Princess Josephine Charlotte, the elder sister of King Baudouin, the present king of Belgium; the stamp was first issued in 1937 when the princess was ten years old. Cornell used the same stamp in a number of other boxes.1

The figure in the lower half of the box is Andromeda, a princess in Greek legend who has chained to a rock and sacrificed to Neptune after he had been outraged by the vain declarations of Andromeda's mother, Cassiopeia. Cornell placed Andromeda, with chains flailing, against the speckled edge of the blue paint, leading up to the advertisement for 'Hotel Restaurant Nettuno' (Neptune), a deliberate compositional strategy. The image of Andromeda is cut out from a nineteenth-century engraving of a celestial map. The same figure appears in other boxes, for example Untitled (Andromeda) c.1954. Four of the hotel names on the Gallery's box have celestial connotations: 'Cygne' for the constellation Cygnus, 'L'Etoile', 'Nettuno' and 'L'Univers'.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.226.

  1. For example, Untitled (Hotel Beau-Séjour) c.1954, and Untitled (Hotel Royal des Etrangers) c.1952.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated l.l., "Gillian Ayres 86", inscribed verso r., oil, "TOP/ Gillian Ayres/ 86" Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, London, 1989 NGA 1989.1377 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1977 NGA 1978.383 © Sol Lewitt View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The idea for Cubic modular piece no. 3 originated in 1965 when Sol LeWitt constructed a piece in wood which was exhibited at the Dwan Gallery, New York, in 1966.1 This early work, the first or no. 1 in the series, was an open grid of cubes, four cubes high and four wide. It has since disappeared.

There are two subsequent configurations of the cubic modular piece, both made in steel and painted white. Cubic modular piece no. 2, ascribed the date 1966, is an L-shaped configuration and is now in the collection of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Australian National Gallery's Cubic modular piece no. 3 is a slightly larger but more direct extension of the format of the original wood piece, being five cubes high by six wide.2

The Gallery owns a second, later, work by Sol LeWitt: Wall drawing no. 380 a-d: isometric figures (cube, rectangle, trapezoid, parallelogram 1982.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.376.

  1. John Weber (director of Dwan Gallery, New York, at the time), correspondence with the Gallery, 1 March 1986.
  2. The paint is not baked enamel as previously assumed but a synthetic polymer paint sprayed on.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated on bottom l.r., red fibre-tipped pen, "Wolfgang Laib 80" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2114 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2111 Provenance inscribed verso l.r., crayon, ' "Bob" 1970 Close' Purchased 1975 NGA 1975.151 © Chuck Close View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Bob 1970 is one of a series of eight large black and white portraits that Close painted between November 1967 and April 1970. He began work on Bob in the last months of 1969 and finished at the beginning of 1970.1 Bob immediately preceded Keith 1970 (collection of the artist),2 the last of the black and white series. Close then began using colour in his paintings.

Like all the black and white heads, Bob is painted from grided photographs onto a gessoed ground using black paint applied with an airbrush to build up the dark tones. White paint is used occasionally for the highlights but more often the black pigment is scraped back using a razorblade or an electric eraser. The subject of the painting is one of Close's friends, Robert Israel, a New York based opera designer. Israel later recalled:

I had wanted Chuck to ask me to pose for him, but I really didn't feel it was proper for me to ask. Chuck's decision of who he would paint had to do not only with whether you were a friend, but with the topology of your face. And I didn't really think it was my business to ask him if I could pose.

But eventually he did ask me and Joe Zucker to pose and I recall that it was on Memorial Day that Joe and I went to a photographic studio where Chuck wet up a box camera and took our pictures.3

During the painting of Bob Close remembers this incident:

I had taken a break and was walking back into the studio. Looking at the painting, I realised that a highlight in one of the eyes was too bright. And I said, 'Damn it, now I'm going to have to take his glasses off'. But when I realised what I had said, I pivoted on my heel and walked out leaving the lights on, the compressor on and the airbrushes full of paint. When you start believing in your own illusion, you're in serious trouble.4

At much the same time that Close was working on the painting Bob he made a film portrait of Israel, Slow Pan/Bob 1970 (16mm, black and white, 10 min. duration), in which the slowly moving camera minutely scrutinised areas of the sitter's face. The photograph used by Close for the painting Bob was used again in 1973, when the artist made a series of four pencil and ink drawings.5

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.408.

  1. William Dyckes, 'The Photo as Subject: The Paintings and Drawings of Chuck Close', Arts Magazine, vol.48, no. 5, February 1974, pp.28-33, p.31.
  2. Keith 1970, synthetic polymer paint on canvas (174.0 x 213.5 cm, 681/2 x 84 in.), in the collection of the artist.
  3. Lisa Lyons and Martin Friedman, Close Portraits, Minneapolis: Walker Arts Center, 1980 (exhibition catalogue), p.65.
  4. ibid., p.34.
  5. Bob no.I/54, 1973; Bob no.II/616, 1973; Bob no.III/2464, 1973; Bob no.IV/9856, 1973, ink and pencil on paper, each 76.2 x 57.2 cm (30 x 221/2 in.), collections Mr and Mrs Paul Gotskind, Chicago.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1981.1239 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works signed and dated on the outside of the bottom ring, fibre-tipped pen, "Marcel Duchamp, 1964 2/8" Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.480 © Marcel Duchamp. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Duchamp purchased the original Bottle dryer from the Parisian department store Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. In a letter to his sister Suzanne, written from New York in mid-January 1916, Duchamp mentioned the bottle dryer he had left behind in his Paris studio in rue Saint-Hippolyte, and stated, 'I had purchased this as a sculpture already made' ('comme une sculpture toute faite'), the first mention of the concept of the Ready-made.1 'You take for yourself this bottle dryer', Duchamp continued in his letter, 'I will make it a "Readymade" from a distance. You will have to write at the base and on the inside of the bottom ring in small letters painted with an oil-painting brush, in silver white colour, the inscription that I will give you after this, and you will sign it in the same hand as follows: / (after) Marcel Duchamp'.2

By the time Suzanne received this letter, however, she had probably already thrown out the bicycle wheel and the bottle dryer in the process of cleaning Duchamp's vacated studio. Duchamp purchased a replacement in Paris around 1921, which is now in the collection of Robert Lebel, Paris. A third version was purchased in 1945 by Man Ray, and Robert Rauschenberg purchased a fourth in New York in 1960. A fifth version was made by Ulf Linde for the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, in 1963. The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is from an edition of eight produced by Galleria Schwarz, Milan, in 1964 under Duchamp's supervision. Two further examples from this edition were reserved for Duchamp and Arturo Schwarz.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.116.

  1. Duchamp, correspondence with Suzanne Duchamp, c. 15 January 1916; Jean Crotti Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. For translation and commentary of this letter see Francis M. Naumann, 'Affecteusement, Marcel: Ten Letters from Marcel Duchamp to Suzanne Duchamp and Jean Crotti', Archives of the American Art Journal, vol. 22, no. 4, 1982, pp.2-19, p.5; and Francis M. Naumann, The Mary and William Sisler Collection, New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1984, p.166.
  2. Duchamp, correspondence op. cit.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1982 NGA 1982.1379 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Other Works Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Other Works title obverse relief: "LVDOVICVS.LVTIVS.DE.SENIS";
reverse relief: "PRIVS.MORI.QVA.TVRPARI." Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1807 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

According to Hill, Lodovico Luti 'is presumably the man, an enemy of Pandolfo Petrucci, who was murdered in Florence on 26 June 1498'. Petrucci was the brutal tyrant who ruled Siena between 1487 and 1512. Niccolò's medal identifies Luti 'of Siena'; from his clothing he may have been a merchant. It is not possible to tell if this is a posthumous portrait, although given Luti's fate the motto on the reverse seems particularly pertinent - prius mori qua turpari, or 'rather death than dishonour'.

Niccolò's work has been characterised as follows:

Whatever the size of the medal, the portrait is distinctive and confident, dominating the circular field, although in most cases the lettering is not as elegant. Each head is strongly individualized and modelled in fairly high relief. The economical style includes the essential contours and features, while conveying a feeling for the plasticity of flesh and the bone structure that brings the subjects to life, despite their presentation in strict and impersonal profile. Few other Renaissance medallists were able to produce so evocative a series of portraits, but this was, perhaps, to be expected in the environment of Quattrocento Florence. By contrast, the reverses of Niccolò's medals are mostly either clumsy, derivative, repetitive or inappropriate. At best, they exhibit a rough charm ...

Like several other medallists of the time, Niccolò did not always pay much attention to the appropriateness of the reverse theme. In this instance, Fortune, the goddess of antiquity, is associated with the chances of the sea and mariners' lives. She is shown here on a dolphin, with a billowing sail to remind the viewer of the inconstancy of fate. An ermine watches from the shore. Prius mori qua turpari may have been a family motto, and the ermine a family emblem. It may possibly refer to Luti's occupation as a furrier or fur-trader, and thus dependent on fickle Fortune.

This reverse was used for at least two other medals Niccolò, one of Alessandro Vecchietti 1498, whose family arms include five ermines, and the other of Nicolas Tranquier 1503. Hill judged the Luti medal reverse as 'probably the original'; this seems possible given a likely latest dating of 1498.

Christine Dixon

View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2178 Provenance signed and dated, over stamp, r. of lower margin of Mariée, blue ink, "Oct 37 / M.Duchamp" Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2866.1-39 © Marcel Duchamp. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

This work consists of a box containing miniature replicas of three of Duchamp's Ready-mades: Paris Air 1919, Traveller's folding item 1916, and Fountain 1917, and sixty-eight printed reproductions of other works by the artist. The box is assembled in such a way that various parts slide out, fold out, or are lifted out for display to create a 'miniature museum'. The box is printed on the lid 'de ou par / Marcel Duchamp / ou / Rrose Sélavy' (from or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy).1

In an interview in 1955 Duchamp explained that:

It was a new form of expression for me. Instead of painting something the idea was to reproduce the paintings that I loved so much in miniature. I didn't know how to do it. I thought of a book, but I didn't like that idea. Then I thought of the idea of the box in which all my works would be mounted like a small museum, a portable museum, so to speak, and here it is in this valise.2

The various reproductions incorporated in the box, and the necessary components of the box itself, were produced between 1936 and 1940, first in Paris and then, during 1940, in Bordeaux and Arcachon.3 The reproductions were made in editions of 300. Rather than use the speedy reproduction techniques that were already available, Duchamp opted for an elaborate and obsolescent method - collotype printing with colouring applied by hand through stencils (pochoirs).

The first Box in a valise - the first of a deluxe edition enclosed in a leather valise and individually numbered and dedicated by Duchamp, I/XX to XX/XX - was completed in Paris at the end of 1940. Duchamp assembled perhaps five more boxes in this edition before sailing for New York in May 1942. During the next eight years in the United States he completed the deluxe edition and with the assistance of others, about 80 further boxes were completed without the leather valise. In March 1955 Duchamp sent most of the material for the rest of the boxes back to Paris. The remaining boxes from the ordinary edition, that is, without the leather valise, were issued in five groups between 1958 and 1968, each group distinguished by various modifications to the construction and distinctive coloured linen colouring. With the exception of the group of 30 copies issued in 1958 and assembled by Ilia Zdanevitch, all copies were assembled by Duchamp's step-daughter, Jacqueline Monnier. She completed the last in the edition of 300 boxes in March 1971.

The box in the Australian National Gallery is not covered and its construction is consistent with those boxes assembled in New York between 1942 and 1954. However there is an oddity about this box that is difficult to explain. The reproductions of Mariée (Bride) that appear in the boxes were printed in Paris in September 1937. In October 1937 a number of pochoir-coloured reproductions of Mariée were signed and dated by Duchamp over a 5-centimetre revenue stamp, apparently as gifts to friends. Unlike the normal reproductions in the box, these signed versions of Mariée are not varnished and are slightly larger. The Gallery's box contains one of these signed reproductions of Mariée.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.122.

  1. Arturo Schwarz catalogues the editions of this work under the title, 'From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy / [The Box in a Valise]' (Arturo Schwartz, The Complete works of Marcel Duchamp, London: Thames and Hudson, 1969, cat. no. 311, pp.511-13). However, all other major commentators, including Duchamp in various interviews, refer to this work under the title 'the box in a valise', or the French title 'Boîte-en-Valise'. While Duchamp was still assembling the first deluxe edition Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery placed an advertisement in the publication V.V.V. (March 1943, p.137), announcing the limited edition and giving it the title 'Boîte-en-Valise'. A year later an illustration of one of the deluxe editions appeared in Sidney Janis' Abstract & Surrealist Art in America, New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1944, p.131. The illustration is captioned 'Boîte-en-Valise' 1941-42'.
  2. Michael Sanouillet and Elmer Peterson (eds), The Essential Writings of Marcel Duchamp, London: Thames and Hudson, 1975, p.136.
  3. The history of the Boîte-en-Valise is covered in great detail in Ecke Bonk, Marcel Duchamp: The Portable Museum, London: Thames and Hudson 1989.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | titled, signed and dated verso u.r., blue synthetic polymer paint, "TABLEAU/DUNOYER/1980 - NYC" Purchased 1982 NGA 1982.1995 Provenance signed and dated l.r., oil, "P. Bommels 84" Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1708 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1977 NGA 1978.167 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Ladies with pearls and handbags, and often, as in this case, with aristocratic names, appear in Baj's work at the same time as the 'Generals'. André Breton considered them well matched:

The general's female companion obviously presents a rather subtler moving target. The splendid harangue announcing a 'guignol' show which starts off something like 'I, General Bludgeon … 'does not invariably include equally fervent publicity - heart-breaking at this stage rather than skull-breaking — in praise of his legitimate spouse' accomplishments and virtues. Even so, the attributes of femininity grant a partial immunity to this heroine of kockabout farce.1

Elisabeta de Bragance de la Felidad Garcia was a member of the royal family that ruled Portugal from 1640 to 1910. 'Often in the past,' Baj has written, 'I have ascribed to my characters the noble names and titles of historic characters, which I have found in the pages of the Grand Larousse Encyclopédique or from other encyclopedias. It was a means of historicising my work and at the same time negating history'.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.310.

  1. André Breton, Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1965, p.400.
  2. Enrico Baj, correspondence with the Gallery, 6 May 1986.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed, incised lower right base, "H. Gaudier/ Brzeska";
not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.727 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The ballet L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird) was presented in London for the first time on 18 June 1912 by Les Ballets Russes de Serge Diaghilev. Tamara Karsavina danced in the title role of the firebird, while Adolph Bolm took the part of her captor, Ivan Tsarevich. Julian Lousada commissioned Gaudier-Brzeska to make a sculpture based on this performance.1

Gaudier-Brzeska chose the moment in Scene 1 when the firebird is seized by Ivan Tsarevich, a moment also singled out in The Sunday Times review of 23 June 1912 as being 'quite unforgettable … the suggestion of palpitating fear and violated purity with which she (Mme Karsavina) shrank from the arms of her captor'.2

It is not known if Gaudier-Brzeska attended the performance as he had done previously for an earlier commissioned sculpture - a portrait of the actress Maria Carmi as the Madonna in Max Rheinhardt's (1873-1943) play The Miracle. On that occasion the artist made many preliminary drawings for the sculpture. In the case of Firebird only two drawings for the sculpture are known (private collection, London).3

According to the list of his completed sculptures and prints that Gaudier-Brzeska compiled in July 1914, and which, with some annotations by H.S. Ede, was published in 1930 in Ede's biography of the artist, three plaster casts were made from the original clay sculpture of Firebird.4

One plaster was sent to the Parlanti Foundry, Parsons Green, to serve as the mould for the bronze for Julian Lousada. Lousada paid £20 for the bronze, the highest price paid for any of Gaudier's works during his lifetime, but not without some initial disagreement with the artist. On 14 November 1912 Gaudier wrote to Sophie Brzeska: 'The Lousadas want to change the colour of the group to light green. It has now a marvellous patine of old bronze. I have written to Parlanti to make it green like the leaves of a cabbage'.5

A few weeks earlier, on 28 October 1912, Gaudier had written to Sophie telling her that, following casting, the plaster of the 'Russian dancers' had been returned, and that he intended displaying the sculpture in Dan Rider's bookshop off Charing Cross Road.6 However, according to Gaudier's 1914 list of works, the plaster he took to Rider's shop was not the one returned from Parlanti, but another which he painted to resemble the dark patina of bronze.7 This painted plaster, sold to Leman Hare for £6, is almost certainly that which is now in the Australian National Gallery's collection.8 Subsequently purchased from Hare by Raymond Drey, who had three bronzes cast from it, the plaster was then sold, by 1918, to Leicester Galeries who had a further six bronze casts made.9 The present whereabouts of the two other plaster casts are unknown. They are presumed lost.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.107.

  1. Roger Cole, Burning to Speak: the Life and Art of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Oxford: Phaidon Press, 1978, p.22.
  2. Nesta Macdonald, Diaghilev Observed by Critics in England and the United States 1911-1929, London: Dance Books, 1975, p.69.
  3. We are grateful to Roger Cole for bringing the existence of these drawings to our attention. In correspondence with the Gallery of 24 February 1984, Cole kindly provided a copy of all the information which he had compiled on this sculpture over ten years of research - referred to here as Cole's notes.
  4. H.S. Ede, A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska, London: William Heinemann, 1930, pp.194-5.
  5. Letter of 14 November 1912, reprinted in Ede, op. cit., pp.132ff. Despite the artist's reservation about the patina, he borrowed back the Lousada bronze to exhibit it with the Allied Artists' Association, Albert Hall, London, June-July 1913, and again for the exhibition 'Twentieth Century Art' at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in May 1914. This original bronze was later destroyed in a fire in the United States; letter from Anthony Lousada to Roger Cole, 1968; Cole's notes.
  6. Letter of 28 October 1912, reprinted in Ede, op. cit. pp.121ff.
  7. ibid., pp.194-5. that it was painted is confirmed in a letter to Haldane Macfall of 21 July 1912 (The Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London).
  8. According to the original list, two plaster casts were in the possession of Leman Hare (Ede, op. cit., pp.194-5). However, the estate of Leman Hare recorded only one plaster cast, for which £6 was paid; Cole's notes.
  9. Cole's notes
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated, incised on brass plate adhered to felt, "Man Ray 8/10 / The enigma of Isidore Ducasse 1920-1971" Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.15 © Man Ray. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Man Ray's Dada objects, made in New York before he left for Paris in 1921, are more fantastic than Marcel Duchamp's (1887-1968) assisted ready-mades, although obviously related. Man Ray first me Duchamp in 1915, but they only began to work closely together after the First World War.

The enigma of Isidore Ducasse was assembled in New York in1920. Man Ray wrapped a sewing machine in an army blanket and tied it up with string. Like most of the objects which he made up to the late 1940s it was assembled primarily to provide an unusual subject for a photograph and then discarded.1

The inspiration and the title of this object derive from a famous line in the book Les Chants de Maldoror (1869) by Comte de Lautréamont, the pseudonym adopted by the French poet Isidore Ducasse (1846-70): 'He is fair … as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella!'.2 The strange juxtaposition of images in Lautréamont's writings, and especially this image of the sewing-machine, was to become almost a maxim for the Surrealists, who welcomed Man Ray when he arrived in Paris in 1921. His photograph of The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse was reproduced in the preface to the first issue of La Revolution Surréaliste (December 1924), the Surrealists' first major periodical.

In 1971 Galleria Schwarz, Milan, reconstructed The enigma of Isidore Ducasse in an edition of ten under Man Ray's supervision.3 The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is no. 8 from this edition.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.140.

  1. See Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray: The Rigour of Imagination, London: Thames and Hudson, 1977, p.233.
  2. Comte de Lautréamont, Lautréamont's Maldoror, trans. by Alexis Lykiard, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1972, p.177.
  3. In the 1960s and 1970s Man Ray re-issued many vintage works in editions, undisturbed by notions of uniqueness: 'Fortunately, upon demand, it was simple enough to reconstruct these objects despite the disapproval of those who valued only originals. Is a book or a bronze an original? I leave such considerations to well intentioned collectors and amateurs of the rare … I have never painted a recent picture', Man Ray, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1966 (exhibition catalogue), pp.28-31, p.28.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | signed and dated right side of scale, synthetic polymer paint, "Man Ray 58", each loaf of bread signed on the underside of the loaf, and dated with fibre-tipped pen, "Man Ray 64" Purchased 1977 NGA 1977.636 © Man Ray. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Confusingly, a number of works by Man Ray are titled Pain peint ('painted bread'). The first, made in1 958 and consisting of a set of scales of the kind once common in grocery shops and carrying two blue loaves of bread, is in the Australian National Gallery. The loaves lie across both baskets, frustrating the scales' balance. A second version of the work was made in 1960 for Cordier and Ekstrom, New York, and carries three loaves in its panniers. The same title is also applied to single loaves of blue-coloured bread, which were made by Man Ray in small editions either in polyurethane or plaster as required.1

When Man Ray first made Pain peint in 1958 he used stale loaves of bread and simply covered them with blue paint. But according to Man Ray, 'mice ate through the paint and the stale baguette'.2 The loaves in the Australian National Gallery's work are replacements made in plaster in 1964 when the work was purchased by Arturo Schwarz. The first loaf is inscribed underneath 'PAIN PEINT 59 / lere serie replique 1/4' and the second loaf is inscribed 'pain peint / lere serie replique - 2/4'.

Because of the play on homophones in the French title, Man Ray did not want it literally translated for English catalogues or books. He therefore gave it the alternative English title Blue bred and a subtitle, 'Favourite food for blue birds'. According to Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray mentioned that Pain peint is also 'an onomatopoeic representation of the firemen's motor-horns'.3

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.142.

  1. A series of single blue loaves was made in 1960; the material was painted polyurethane and the edition was nine. Another group was produced in 1964, in painted plaster in an edition of four, and yet another in 1966, again in polyurethane and again in an edition of nine.
  2. Sanche de Gramont, 'Remember Dada - Man Ray at 80', New York Times Magazine, 6 September 1970; pp.6-7, 25-34.
  3. Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray: The Rigour of Imagination, London: Thames and Hudson, 1977, p.199.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated verso c.r., synthetic polymer paint, "Natvar Bhavsar/ Nove 70" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.3046 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

f the paintings, SHA-DHA and E-JNA, which were painted in November and December 1970 respectively, the artist has written:

The titles of these paintings are non-referential and do not represent any particular meaning for these works. I choose titles for my paintings largely from ancient Sanskrit terminology. They often refer to either musical compositions, past events, places of historical reference, etc., even nature. These two particular titles are only selected for their sound. My paintings are totally abstract, and I prefer not to have the viewer led by the suggestion of the title. The paintings were painted with dry pigments with many, many layers on canvas saturated with acrylic medium.1

Bhavsar's technique consists of brushing dry pigment through a screen onto a horizontal canvas previously coated with an acrylic binder which holds the pigment. The process of sifting the pigment may be repeated as many as eighty times for a single work, using different pigments and adjusting the distance between screen and canvas to vary the density of colour. Bhavsar credits the origin of this distinctive technique to his Indian background.

In India, there is an old tradition that for each holiday, people create color decorations. You take color into a pouch and pour it through a screen onto the ground. When I was only twenty, the secretary of a college student group asked me if I would participate in a school celebration by creating a decoration in the hall on the floor. I did a very large painting, 80' long and 10' to 15' wide. So I have been working in that method since my childhood.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.406.

  1. Natvar Bhavsar, correspondence with the Gallery, 23 September 1987.
  2. Cynthia Goodman, 'Interview with Natvar Bhavsar', Arts Magazine, vol.55, no. 6, February 1977, p.13.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | signed and dated on bottom edge of cage, black fibre-tipped pen, "Marcel Duchamp 1964" Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.818 © Marcel Duchamp. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

'"Why not sneeze?" was ordered by Katherine Dreier's sister [Dorothy Dreier], who wanted something of mine', wrote Duchamp. 'Since I didn't want to do a painting, in the usual sense of the word, I told her, "Fine, but I'll do what ever comes into my head". I took some little pieces of marble in the form of sugar cubes, a thermometer, and a cuttlebone, shut them up in a bird cage, and painted the whole thing white.'1

The confusion as to the true identity of the material used in the caged cubes … sugar or marble … would be revealed when the work was picked up: 'It weighs a ton', said Duchamp, 'and that was one of the elements that interested me when I made it … It is a Ready-made in which the sugar is changed to marble. It is a sort of mythological effect'.2

The thermometer protruding from the cage also draws attention to this effect, as it is intended to measure the difference in temperature between the (heat-giving) sugar and the colder marble. The inclusion in the cage of the cuttlefish bone further reinforces the fact that this is a bird's cage.

Duchamp commented on the title of this work during an interview on French television:

The cage with sugar cubes is called Why not sneeze … ? and, of course the title seems weird to you since there's really no connection between the sugar cubes and a sneeze … First of all there's the dissociational gap between the idea of sneezing and the idea of … 'Why not sneeze?' because after all, you don't sneeze at will; you usually sneeze in spite of your will. So, the answer to the question, Why not sneeze? is simply that you can't sneeze at will! And then there's the literary side if I may call it that … but 'literary' is such a stupid word … it doesn't mean anything … but at any rate there's the marble with its coldness, and this meant that you can even say you're cold, because of the marble, and all of the associations are permissible.'3

The 'Rose Selavy' of the title was a pseudonym Duchamp adopted in 1920. He had first considered using a Jewish name, as he was Catholic, but eventually decided that a female identity would be more extreme. Soon after this work was completed 'Rose' gained a double 'r', becoming 'Rrose'. When Duchamp returned to Paris in May 1921 he signed Francis Picabia's (1879-1953) painting L'Oeil Cacodylate (Musée National d'art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris) with a pun that suggested that Rose, like the name Lloyd, could begin with double letters.

Although commissioned by Dorothea Dreier, Why not sneeze Rose Sélavy? was not to her liking, and she passed it on to her sister Katherine who in turn was unable to live with it and asked Duchamp to sell it. It was eventually acquired by Walter Arensberg in 1934 and is now in the Louis and Walter Arensberg Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art. A second version was made by Ulf Linde for the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

The Australian National Gallery's version is from an edition of eight produced by Galleria Schwarz, Milan, in 1964 under the supervision of Duchamp. Two further examples of this edition were reserved for Duchamp and Arturo Schwarz, with a third inscribed to the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

This edition differs from the original in Philadelphia in two respects. In accord with Duchamp's wishes, in this edition the title on the bottom of the cage is written in mirror writing so that when reversed by reflection it can be read correctly.

The second difference is more prosaic. Each of the marble cubes in the original work in Philadelphia bears the rubber-stamped caption 'Made in France' which was applied in 1936 to comply with customs regulations when the work was being returned to the United States after being exhibited at the Exposition Surrealiste d'Objets, held at the gallery of Charles Ratton in Paris.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.120.

  1. Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, London: Thames and Hudson, 1971, p.65.
  2. James Johnson Sweeney, 'A Conversation with Marcel Duchamp', interview at the Philadelphia Museum of Art recorded as a soundtrack for film made by NBC television in 1955, broadcast in January 1956. Edited version cited in Michael Sanouillet and Elmer Peterson (eds), The Essential Writings of Marcel Duchamp, London: Thames and Hudson, 1975, p.135.
  3. Jean-Marie Drot, 'Jeu d'Échecs avec Marcel Duchamp', unpublished interview for the soundtrack for film made by ORTF television, 1963. Quoted in Arturo Schwartz, The Complete works of Marcel Duchamp, London: Thames and Hudson, p.487.
View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | signed verso l.r. on a fragment of pasted paper, ink, "Joseph Cornell", not dated Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.835 © Joseph Cornell. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The phrase 'nostalgia of the sea' occurs frequently in Cornell's diaries, and was an emotion he hoped to crystallise in his Navigation boxes: 'nostalgia of the sea / we pick up a piece of wood on the seashore / there is infinite legend & romance about flotsam and jetsam — equivalent in mounting to retain this quality / immaculate aspect of something surviving a hundred years'.1

The wooden frame of the box is washed over with thin blue paint, as if scoured by seawater. The interior of the box is painted white, revealing the wood grain on the lower edge. The paintwork has a weathered look. A mysterious map occupies the back of the box. Areas of the map are washed over with a light blue watercolour similar to the outside frame of the box.2 Cornell owned a number of nineteenth-century books covering astronomy, physics and meteorology and it is likely that this map was taken from such a volume. On the underside of the roof of the box Cornell has pasted a section of a German map showing an expanse of the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom, a segment indicating names which evoke hidden corners of the world and sea routes not part of mainstream voyaging.

A series of four wooden cylindrical blocks hang on a metal bar suspended beneath the roof of the box. On these blocks Cornell has pasted cuttings. One illustrates the path of Halley's comet (on the right wall of the box is a similar cutting illustrating the path of a meteor). These cuttings came from a simple guide to astronomy in Cornell's possession.3 On another block is a cutting with the words 'Belt of Orion' and showing the three stars from this large constellation on the celestial equator. Cornell was totally familiar with the appearance, movements and mythical lore connected with this constellation; he was also aware of the historic influence of astronomy on mathematics and science. Another illustration, pasted upside down, indicates a tiny globe of the world, turned to show the United States with the name of one city — Chicago — singled out, and showing the Pole Star. Cornell noted in his diary: 'Cynosure — star near North Pole by which sailors steer'.4 On the fourth block is an illustration of a butterfly, an emblem of ethereality often used by Cornell, perhaps as an evocation of the ballet. A brass orbit-like ring hands from the bar between the cylinders.

On a ledge at the bottom of the box a series of five liqueur glasses stand in hollows cut into the wood. Four of the glasses contain a marble; the fifth contains a white spiral shell whose shape conspires with the small geometrical objects in the box. Neatly fitted into the base of the box is a shallow drawer pained white on the inside and covered with a glass pane. The drawer contains a sprinkled mass of dark blue powder, three small metal ball-bearings, two small shells (one a cowrie) and two narrow strips of cork cut as fine elongated rectangles. Against the white paint the blue powder appears like sea against sand, while the metal ball-bearings sparkle like stars. Cornell has drawn a thin grid of white paint on the glass covering the drawer, inspired perhaps by the lines of latitude and longitude on the map inside the box. The five vertical lines of the grid seem to align with the five liqueur glasses.

Cornell admired the detail and finish found in seventeenth-century Dutch still-lifes — the 'ultra-graphic microscopic magic-realism' was how he referred to the genre.5 The same precision entwined with emblematic meaning applies to this box.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.224.

  1. Archives of American Art, Joseph Cornell Papers, diaries, undated and 1930-72, source material files I, reel 1067, frame 427.
  2. Despite consultation with national mapping authorities in Australia and overseas, we were unable to identify the precise nature of this map.
  3. It has not been possible to establish the actual title of this publication. However, among the Cornell papers there are some loose pages from this book from which an illustration has been cut which matches the one on this box (Archives of American Art, Joseph Cornell Papers, source material files II, reel 1068, frame 1101). A duplicate of the original page identifies the image with the label 'Path of Halley's Comet'. There is also a duplicate of the meteor illustration from the same book on the same reel 1068, frame 167.
  4. <
  5. Archives of American Art, Joseph Cornell Papers, source material files I, reel 1067, frame 477.
  6. Undated diary entry, Archives of American Art, Joseph Cornell Papers, diaries, undated and 1930-72, reel 1062, frame 878.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1981.1332 © Joseph Cornell. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In a diary entry for 25 January 1947 Cornell refers to this box: 'work on etuis (small cabinets) progressed — Les Petites Filles Modèles, Les Caprices de Gizelle, Les Perles de l'Opera …',1 which provides a more precise date and title than has formerly been attributed to the work.

On the back of the box are pasted cuttings from a book which read:

LES CAPRICES
DE GIZELLE
COMEDIE EN DEUX ACTES
A MA PETITE-FILLE
HENRIETTE FRESNEAU

Chère enfant, voici un volume que je te dédie. Je désire qu'il t'amuse, et que tes amis te reconnaissent dans les bonnes petites filles que j'ai mises en scène. C'est à cause de tes bonnes et aimables qualités, que ma tendresse pour toi ne viellit pas et qu'elle se maintiendra la même jusqu'au dernier jour de ma vie.

Ta Grand'mère,
Comtesse DE SEGUR,
Née Rostopchine.2

These cuttings are from a volume of plays for children entitled Comédies et Proverbes, published in Paris in 1869 by Hachette. Its author, the Comtesse Sophie de Ségur (1799-1874), wrote popular stories for children which she dedicated to her grandchildren. The text of this volume is interspersed with woodcut illustrations by Emile-Antoine Bayard (1837-91). Cornell must have owned a copy of this book, for not only did he cut out the Comtesse de Ségur's dedication which precedes the main text, he also singled out Bayard's illustrations from this volume for the play Les Caprices de Gizelle and pasted these over the box.3

Comédies et Proverbes belonged to the children's series called 'Bibliothèque Rose Illustrée and this may explain why Cornell washed over the outside of the box with rose-madder ink. Bibliothèque Rose circulated widely during the nineteenth century and the popularity of Madame de Ségur's stories extended into the early twentieth century. Cornell mentions the series several times in his diaries. In an entry for 24 January 1947, the same day that he refers to his work on The Caprices of Gizelle, he notes coming across a 'Windfall of Bibliothèque rose to cover etuis' in a second-hand bookshop on 59th Street.4 For Cornell these books evoked what he frequently termed 'the golden age of childhood', which he recreated in boxes like the Caprices of Gizelle. The box also captures the nostalgia and sense of romance Cornell felt for the nineteenth century.

The inside walls of the box are lined with deep blue plus velvet. Each shelf contains a small cardboard box coated with embossed paper imitating leather. Cornell stained the surface of these boxes with dark blue ink, and onto the bottom of each he pasted pieces of text in French taken from a volume of The Three Musketeers. Each text, on each of the three boxes, mentions the name of one of the musketeers. The middle box is a recent replacement.

The name 'Gizelle' also carries an echo of the ballet Giselle of 1841, which would not have escaped the notice of Cornell as a balletomane. Cornell's knowledge of ballet was extensive and scholarly. He devoted numerous boxes to this subject and was a regular contributor to the periodical Dance Index.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.220.

  1. Archives of American Art, Joseph Cornell papers, diaries undated and 1930-72, reel 1059, frame 365.
  2. My dear child / Here is a book which I dedicate to you. I hope that it will amuse you and that your friends will recognise you amongst the charming little girls about whom I have written. Because of your sweet and charming nature the feelings of affection that I have for you will never fade and will remain the same for the rest of my life. / Your grandmother / Countess de Ségur / Née Rostopchine.'
  3. On the left side of the box there appears Bayard's illustration from p.9, captioned 'Maman! Mamon! Au secours!'. This illustration at p.26 ('Mon pied! Mon pied!') has been inserted between the two cut halves. Together these cover this side of the box.

    On the upper half of the right side of the box there appears the illustration from p.23 ('Non ce n'est pas elles! Recommence'), in the middle from p.3 ('Leontine! Toi pleurant devant nous!') and the illustration on the lower section comes from p.71 ('Qu'est-ce que ce papier?').

    On both the left and right sides of the box Cornell has used the full illustration each time, cutting away the edges to properly fit the sides of the box.

    Cornell used all the remaining illustrations from 'Les Caprices de Gizelle' on the front of the box. In this case, he cut around the figures from each illustration. On the front top left is the illustration from p.75 ('Premier essai de fermeté'); on the lower left side the illustration is cut from p.67 ('Tiens, aveugle mère, prends ta fille et reois nos adieux'). Below the seated girl in the book illustration a headless doll lies on the floor. This image obviously appealed to Cornell for he cut it out separately and stuck it at the top right edge next to the illustration on p.55 ('Votre barbe me pique'). On the lower right corner is the illustration cut from p.37 ('La bonne arrive et emporte Gazelle').
  4. Archives of American Art, Joseph Cornell Papers, diaries, undated and 1930-72, reel 1067, frame 041. Another response by Cornell to the French series appears in a diary entry fo 3 May 1948. Cornell notes: 'Saw French Vogue "Les Malheurs de Sophie" made into ballet (Bibliotèque Rose Illustrée)'. Mme de Ségur's 'Sophie' books were a highlight of the Bibliotèque Rose series (ibid., 1509, frame 121).
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.1680 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Called Petite rieuse to distinguish it from Grande rieus 1891 (Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan), a larger scupture also depicting a laughing woman, this work is thought to be a portrait of Bianca Garavaglia, a Parisian café–concert singer popularly known as Bianca de Toledo.1

In the catalogue for the exhibition 'Prima Mostra dell Impressionismo e du Medardo Rosso', organised by Ardengo Soffici and held in Florence in 1910, Petite rieuse is dated 1890, probably on the advice of Rosso himself. The date is supported by a letter to Felice Cameroni of 26 January 1890 in which Rosso mentions working on a portrait of 'a woman of the theatre'.2

Petite rieuse exists in three variant forms and casts thereof. In the first the head is fully modelled in the round and surrounded by a circular collar. In the second version only a vestige of this garment remains, protruding on the right side from the neck to the base of the ear. In the third version, exemplified by the work in the Australian National Gallery's collection, the face and a fringe of hair are cut out like a mask. These variations reflect a process of successive reduction, an attempt to pare the sculpture back to its essence. This occurred at some time after 1890, and possibly as late as the turn of the century.3 An unknown number of casts in wax over plaster exist in addition to the work in the Gallery's collection and include casts in the Museo Rosso, Barzio, Italy, and the Galleria d'Arte Moderna di la Pesaro, Venice.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.70.

  1. Curt Seidel, 'L'Arte di Medardo Rosso', L'Artista Moderno, vol. 10, March 1911, p.93.
  2. Letter to Felice Cameroni dated 26 January 1890 (Civica Biblioteca d'Arte di Milano, reprinted in Mostra di Medardo Rosso, op cit., p.102).
  3. The second type of variation, with the collar cut back to a fragment on the right side of the neck, was certainly in existence by 1894; in that year Rosso presented a cast in bronze to Auguste Rodin which is now in the Musée Rodin, Paris.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | signed l.r., oil, "G. CLAUSEN" Gift of S. H. Ervin 1962 NGA 1962.64 © Clausen Estate Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased with the assistance of Members of the NGA Foundation, including David Coe, Harold Mitchell AO, Bevelly Mitchell, John Schaeffer and Kerry Stokes AO 2001 NGA 2001.36 © Lucian Freud View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In After Cézanne Lucian Freud enters into a dialogue with the French painter Paul Cézanne. Freud's composition is based on a Cézanne painting in his own collection, but the French artist also painted a number of versions of this theme. One of these works, Afternoon in Naples c.1875, is in the National Gallery of Australia's collection (NGA 1985.460). The paintings by Cézanne and Freud differ vastly in scale and effect. While Cézanne's easel painting is intimate and intended for private viewing, the drama in Freud's canvas has a monumental impact.

Freud's After Cézanne also differs in the emphasis on figures and objects. The painting shows three naked figures in an interior - as if a particular moment has been captured photographically. The upturned chair contribute disorder to the scene. Freud has paid particular attention to the upholstery, the tacks and the padding to ensure that this chair has real weight and physical presence. Minutiae such as the hanging castor wheels, indentations in the mattress and the rumpled sheets encourage speculation.

The reclining male and female figures have each been painted in an entirely different manner. The creamy palette chosen for the female's fleshy form contrasts starkly with the sinewy man, whose colouring is darker, and whose extremities are defined with accents of red. His features have been 'chiselled' in paint. Freud's painterly analysis of flesh is clinical and unromanticised. The sprawling, angular pose of the man gives emphasise to his penis against the white sheet.

Conjecture about the relationships portrayed is inevitable. What are we to make of this gaunt, morose young man and why is his companion attempting to console him, if that is what she is doing? Has the attendant interrupted this scene or is she also a protagonist in this drama? Whatever conclusions are drawn, the fact remains that Freud exercises a powerful control over his psychological portraits. The painting is a very contemporary one, exploring issues of dependence and independence, sexual engagement and ambivalence, intimacy and alienation.

The shape of the painting is unusual. The artist originally intended the attendant figure to be portrayed from the upper arms down, with her arms and the tray suggesting the reason for her presence. The extension at upper left was added later to accommodate the whole figure. Originally she was clothed, but Freud has painted over the gown. The inclusion of the attendant provides the most direct link with Cézanne's Afternoon in Naples. Freud is consciously positioning himself and the painting in the history of art. In this frank examination of privacy and exposure, Freud's After Cézanne makes a dramatic claim for painting and the genre of studio painting.

adapted from Catherine Lampert's and Rolf Lauter's reports on the painting, published in Lucian Freud: After Cézanne, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia 2001, another version in Developing the Collection: Acquisitions 1999-2001, Canberra: National Galley of Australia 2001, p.43 by Lucina Ward.

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Gift of the Philip Morris Arts Grant 1988 NGA 1988.90 signed and dated verso c., green fibre-tipped pen, "Stephen Buckley 1980" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.1656 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Untitled 1980 and Untitled 1979 are from a significant body of small paintings undertaken by the artist in the late 1970s. At the time the British art critic John McEwen outlined that:

Currently the smallness of his working space and desire to limit external reference, stylistic or otherwise, in order to make the painting as much of a self-contained object as possible, [have] led to a stark reduction in scale.

Whilst not individually as significant as a major work like Java 1980, when paired together Untitled 1979 and Untitled 1980 exhibit many of the features that drew critical attention to the artist's work in the 1970s. Buckley was widely recognised for his almost sculptural attitude to painting, especially his eclectic use of materials and techniques of construction.

Untitled 1980 is composed from a series of thin squares of composition board stapled together in a process of accretion. The viewer's understanding of the painting's fabrication and resultant structure is then confounded by the placement of a single floating decorative 'visual' panel. Untitled 1979, on the other hand, is deliberately deceptive from a frontal or traditional viewpoint. It is only by moving to the side of the painting, an unconventional viewing angle, that the depth of the work becomes evident. It is the painted edges that are crucial, defining and separating the planes as well as visually forcing the white frontal surfaces of the painting forward from the gallery wall.

The acquisition of the artist's two small untitled paintings in 1981 expanded the National Gallery's representation of internationally-recognised British painters, which includes among others, Buckley's contemporaries Howard Hodgkin, with The Buckleys at Brede 1974-76 and John Walker's Study for Luke's blue 1976.

Steven Tonkin

  1. John McEwen, 'Four British painters', Artforum, vol.17 no.4, December 1978, pp.50-55; the four painters discussed were John Hoyland, John Walker, Stephen Buckley and Howard Hodgkin.
  2. Tate, London
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated l.l., oil, "Hartung 54" Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.3156 © Hans Hartung. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Hans Hartung's practice exemplified a rigorous dedication to an autonomous abstract art. He accordingly titled his painting in an unambiguous and practical fashion, scrupulously bare of extraneous references. T-1954-20 for example, is titled to announce the medium ('T' standing for Toile, implying oil on canvas), the year it was made, 1954, and the order in which it was painted that year.

Hartung's work changed markedly in 1954, precipitated perhaps by the example of American artists whose work he saw in Paris in the years 1951-53. In an interview with Henry Geldzahler in 1975, Hartung recalled being particularly impressed with the work of Franz Kline (1910-62) whose paintings 'progressed toward an abstraction pushed further and further along until, finally, the resulting paintings were tremendously enlarged details whose feelings and meaning were something totally different from their point of departure; they were extremely strong paintings.'1

Certainly the shift in Hartung's painting style is anticipated in the etchings that he produced at Roger Lacourière's print workshop in Paris in 1953. Made by dragging a steel comb along the surface of the printing plate, these prints demonstrate the reliance on line and simplifications in composition that were to become the stylistic hallmark of his later paintings.

In 1954 Hartung stripped back the repertoire of calligraphic marks deployed across the canvas that had characterised his previous work. He reduced the variety and number of marks to favour the near-straight lines of a slashing brushstroke, effecting a simpler, almost formal, composition made with a central flourish of brushstrokes. The painting T-1954-20 is one of the earliest examples of this new style, typically floating a sheaf of flexible black lines against a light background.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.268.

  1. From an interview with Henry Geldzahler held in July 1975 and quoted in 'Biographical Notes', in Hans Hartung Paintings:1971-1975, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976, n.p. (exhibition catalogue).
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1976 NGA 1976.72 Provenance signed verso u.c., blue chalk, "Denny", not dated, inscribed verso u.c., orange chalk, "14" Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, Tate Gallery, London, 1972 NGA 1972.559 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Robyn Denny, Richard Smith and Ralph Rumney were involved in the collaborative installation of large free-standing paintings, entitled Place, held at the ICA in London in September 1959. Their aim was to create an 'environment' that addressed the role of the spectator as an active participant within the space. The following year Denny was included in the Situation exhibition at the RBA Galleries, London, in September 1960, where he exhibited the triptych Baby is three 1960 and 7/1960 1960. These two paintings are often considered as heralding the artist's major preoccupations of the next decade.

In the year separating the Place and Situation exhibitions, Denny undertook an exploratory series of domestic-scale paintings that at first glance appear to deny or rebuff the concepts underlying Place. However these small square-format and numerically designated paintings are best approached not in isolation, but as a series of investigations within a set of parameters. Six paintings from this body of work were included in Denny's mid-career retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London in 1973, with S12 1960 identified as 'the most interesting' as it 'anticipates Denny's classic dismissal of the claims of the image. The grid image … [is] simply swamped by the tonal intensity of the colours green, grey and blue.'

A process of experimentation, evaluation, rejection and evolution in the artist's work is particularly evident in this series of paintings. S14 1960 addresses similar concerns to S12 yet appears a more resolved painting, particularly as it anticipates the distinctive circuit-like geometry and symmetry that are often cited as hallmarks of Denny's subsequent work in the 1960s.

Steven Tonkin

  1. Tate, London
  2. Collection of the artist, London
  3. Robyn Denny, Tate Gallery, London, 7 March - 23 April 1973; S6 1960 cat.28, S7 1960 cat.29, S9 1960 cat.30, S10 1960 cat.31, S12 1960 cat.32, S17 1960 cat.33
  4. Robert Kudielka, Robyn Denny, London: Tate Gallery, 1973, p.30
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.2031 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board NGA 1964.51.A-B Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.820 This work is reproducted with permission of the artist. View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Bishop left the United States for Europe in 1957, at a time when the influence of Abstract Expressionism was at its height in New York.

When I first started to work in Paris [1958] I still had something of the 'true believer' feeling I had had as a student which was that with Abstract Expressionism painters had at last begun simply to paint, at least in a certain way … I think of myself as somebody who tried to go on from Motherwell (who was the painter I loved most as a student) and later on Newman, Rothko and Reinhardt. Since they are inimitable, I had to find something to do myself. I don't know if I would have tried to combine them if I had been in New York, but in my own relative isolation in Paris it seemed to fit my own feelings. I think today I am an Abstract Expressionist of the quieter branch.1

Ad Reinhardt (1913-67) in particular, may have influenced the kind of 'veiled' geometric division of the canvas which Bishop adopted in 1968, in which the canvas, a perfect square, is divided exactly in the middle, the lower half remaining empty, the top half occupied by two squares, which are in turn bisected horizontally and vertically. However, Bishop's technique for creating his geometric format is paradoxical, and harks back to the more spontaneous painterly technique of Abstract Expressionism. After putting down pencil guidelines, Bishop 'pours' his geometric design, without the aid of tape or ruler. The blue' frames' in the Gallery's painting were poured in this way and then the whole painting was washed with white oil paint, diluted to the point of transparency, but growing more evenly opaque in the top left and top right-hand corners of the canvas:

After putting down pencilled guidelines, I put the stretched canvas on the floor, fill in an area with very liquid paint, and the, by picking up one edge of the canvas and then another, let the paint roll around until there is more in one part of that area than another, and consequently more, or less, of the undercoat showing through, this according to the idea I have of how the different sections of the painting should work together.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.388.

  1. 'The '60s in Abstract: 13 Statements and an Essay', Art in America, vol. 71, no. 9, October 1983, pp.122-37, cf. p.134.
  2. ibid.
View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated on label verso, "Paule Vézelay. 1936" Purchased 1994 NGA 1994.1231 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.960 © Constantin Brancusi. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The bird was a central theme in Brancusi's oeuvre. Over a period of at least thirty years he completed twenty-seven sculptures of birds in marble and bronze. His first bird, Maiastra, 1910-12 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Katherine S. Dreier Bequest) was inspired by the legendary Pasarea maiastra (Master bird), a magic bird in Romanian folklore famed for its radiant plumage and marvellous song, a messenger of love who guided and protected Prince Charming in his search for his Princess.1 Brancusi returned to the theme again and again, each sculpture prompting refinements in the next. From the comparatively naturalistic Maiastra — with its majestic demeanour, outstretched neck and open beak — of which he made seven variations (three in marble, four in bronze) — through a series of four variations (two in marble, two in bronze) which he called Golden bird (L'oiseau d'or), the form becomes more attenuated, taller, absorbing the head and neck in a swelling urn of marble. Finally, in 1923, he established the form of Bird in space, which exists in sixteen versions (seven in marble, nine in bronze) an aeriform blade of marble or polished bronze soaring upwards in such equilibrium that the sculptor was obliged to anchor it by inserting a metal rod running internally from the narrow footing up into the body of the sculpture. The black and white marble Birds in the Gallery's collection are Brancusi's final marble versions of Bird in space, and the black marble version is the tallest he carved; from each a bronze was cast.1

A handwritten notation dated 19 January 1932, by Brancusi's friend Henri-Pierre Roché, states: 'Oiseau marbre noir, pas fini 250,000 frs'.3 This provides an approximate starting date for the black marble Bird in space but a certain completion date for both Birds cannot be established before the spring of 1936, when Brancusi sent photographs of them to their dashing new owner, Yeshwant Rao Holkar, Maharaja of Indore.4

A photograph of the black marble Bird in space taken by Brancusi in his studio has been dated to c.1933 by Marielle Tabart and Isabelle Monod-Fontaine.5 At the same time Brancusi photographed a white marble Bird using similar dramatic lighting. Traditionally this Bird has been identified with that made by Brancusi in 1930 and formerly in the collection of Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York. This identification is debatable.

According to information supplied by Marcel Duchamp to Athena T. Spear in 1962, Brancusi sold this Bird to Mrs. Charles Rumsey, New York, in c.1929-30.6 It seems more likely therefore, that if the dating of the photograph to c.1933 is correct, this photograph is of the white marble Bird subsequently sent to the Maharaja. Visually, this also seems more correct, as the photograph clearly shows that flaring of the 'neck' of the white Bird where it meets the collar, a distinctive feature of the Bird sent to the Maharaja. Brancusi accompanied the photographs he sent to the Maharaja in 1936 with a message, dictated to Henri-Pierre Roché, in which he said:

The height of the 'Bird' is meaningless in itself … It is the internal proportions of the object which count … The differences between the most recent 'Birds' can scarcely be seen in the photographs. Each, however, is the result of a fresh inspiration, unrelated to that of the one before … My 'Birds' are a series of different objects in a questhat remains the same. The ideal realisation of this quest would be an enlarged version that would fill the vault of the sky. My two most recent 'Birds', in black and white, are the ones where I got closest to the right proportion — and I approached this correct proportion to such a degree that I was able to rid myself of myself.7

Of the proportions of these Birds, Sidney Geist has written:

The white marble Bird in space is close to the taller Bird of 1930 (formerly collection Nelson Rockefeller, New York) in the proportion of footing to total height. But its body is newly slender where it springs from the footing, making for the easiest, swiftest such transition in the oeuvre. The black marble is unique among the' Birds' in its colour and is also the tallest he created, 1¾ inches taller than the Rockefeller. Although Brancusi placed no importance on size — valuing instead measure, proportion — great size, coupled with the extreme hardness of black marble, made the execution of the last Bird a demanding task. The proportion of footing to total height is below the average for this Bird in Space (while that of the white Bird is above the average) and close to that of the much smaller Zurich grey marble c.1925-31, (Kunsthaus, Zurich). But whereas the latter is quite erect, with a 'proud' stance, the black tilts to the rear as though to levitate. The emphasis on the body resulting from the relatively short footing is in keeping with the density of the black 'matière', in contrast to the more delicate body of the white Bird.8

It is worth noting that the subtle differences in the poise of the black and white marble Birds is also reflected in the proportions of the bases. In both cases the line of intersection of the 'legs' of the solid X bases does not occur at the centre but slightly lower (by exactly one-tenth of the total height of the bases), so that the basses appear to push their weight upwards in anticipation of this same action by the Birds themselves. Predictably, the base of the black marble Bird is the fatter of the two bases, and yet the indent cut to form the squatting X shape is shallower than in the base of the white marble Bird. Thus the deeply cut base of the white marble Bird in space appears springy by comparison.

Although the Maharaja of Indore did not take delivery of the black and white marble Birds until the end of 1936, he had reserved both and a further bronze Bird in space (now with the Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena, California) on an earlier visit to Brancusi's studio, probably in late 1933.9 Henri-Pierre Roché, who conducted the Maharaja to Brancusi's studio, later recalled of this visit:

The visitor [the Maharaja] looked at every work slowly and quietly as in a fairy-tale. He had not much money at the time. He pulled his little notebook out of his pocket and began careful calculations. Why? He simply wanted to buy the three major and related works which were there: a large Bird in space in black marble, one in white marble and one in polished bronze. A unique trio. He was counting the money he was able to spend. He also wanted, later, to have a temple built for them by Brancusi, twelve steps by twelve, placed on the lawn near his palace, as if it had fallen from the sky without doors or windows, with an underground entrance, a temple in which to meditate, open to everybody but to only one person at a time. Inside, there would be a square mirror of water with the three Birds on three sides and a tall oak sculpture, Spirit of Buddha by Brancusi, on the fourth side, arranged so that the Golden Bird [in polished bronze] would be struck by the sun precisely at noon, through a circular hole in the ceiling, on a particular sacred day of the year. A drawing of the temple was soon made.10

In Roché's recollection it is the Maharaja who introduces the idea of a temple as the ultimate home of the Birds, although this was probably at the prompting of Brancusi, who had long cherished the idea of combining his sculpture and architecture.11

During 1936, with Roché acting as intermediary, a lively correspondence took place between Brancusi and the Maharaja regarding the final form of the temple.12 Originally it seems the Maharaja simply envisaged a 'sacred precinct', open to the air and 'enclosed by a tall, hardy hedge', with the 'Birds sheltering in niches at the sides of a rectangular pool of water'.13 A number of sketches have survived which show Brancusi experimenting with the design of these niches.14 However, as Brancusi took the initiative, the temple became enclosed, a small pantheon-like structure lit by a single open aperture in a vault or dome.15 Another sketch by Brancusi conceived of the monument as a small stupa-like building, very Indian in feeling.16 Clearly the external form of the temple remained in a constant state of change in the artist's mind. The Romanian engineer Stefan Georgescu-Gorjan (who worked with Brancusi on the installation of the memorial at Tirgu Jiu) has written that by the time Brancusi sought his assistance on the Indore project the sculptorenvisaged the temple as egg-shaped,'17 while according to the architect Octav Doicescu, Brancusi apparently talked of the temple in the form of an apple, 'an apple of monumental dimensions, on the scale of a mausoleum; it was to be executed in solid marble, in undulating country, at the end of a valley with a river running through'.18

The interior of the proposed temple also appears to have been in a continual state of metamorphosis in the artist's mind. The constant, already present in the correspondence of 1936, was the idea of the three versions of Bird in space purchased by the Maharaja — in white marble, black marble, and polished bronze — arranged around the sides of a square or rectangular pool of water. In the correspondence of 1936 the Maharaja also visualised that the fourth side, opposite the bronze Bird in space, would be occupied by 'a small temple of the Indian God',19 although in Brancusi's mind this later became his own tall, wooden sculpture, originally entitled The spirit of Buddha and subsequently King of kings (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York). Those who later heard Brancusi speak of the project also mention frescoes, of which a trial panel (collection Alexandre Istrati and Natalia Dumitresco, Paris) and a gouache design (Musée National d'art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris ), survive, showing white triangular birds floating horizontally on a blue ground.20 Brancusi visualised the temple as a chamber for spiritual contemplation in which the presiding spirits were to be the three versions of his Bird in space. Perhaps in this context the Birds would have assumed their real meaning for the artist, transcending their avian inspiration to become, rather, a metaphor for the human urge towards spiritual ascension — the flight of the soul. 'All my life', said Brancusi, without any specific reference to the Birds, 'I have only sought the essence of flight. Flight — what bliss'.21

Brancusi arrived in India on 30 December 1937 with the intention of beginning work on the temple but the Maharaja was away (apparently on a tiger hunt) and seemed to have lost interest in the project.22 Brancusi mooned about the palace at Manik Bagh for about a month, polished his Birds for the last time, and then departed on 27 January 1938.23 But he never lost interest in the project. Even in the 1940s and 1950s many friends recalled that Brancusi spoke often and with enthusiasm of the planned temple at Indore.24 Had it been realised it would surely have been one of the most remarkable monuments of modern art.

The installation of the black and white marble Birds in the Australian National Gallery pays homage to Brancusi's unrealised dream, while raising the Birds in the pond itself, rather than beside it, for their own safety.25

Shortly after the Gallery bought the Birds it was advised that the original limestone bases had been destroyed in India. With the aid of precise measurements of the lost originals, replicas were made in 1982, cut from Wondabyne sandstone from the Gosford region of New South Wales, which has the same grainless, even grey colour of the originals.26

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.193.

  1. In Romanian, pasare means 'bird'; maiastra derives from the Latin magister, literally 'master bird'. The Russian form of this same legend was the inspiration for the ballet L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird) by Les Ballets Russes de Serge Diaghilev which was performed for the first time at the Théâtre National de l'Opera, Paris, on 25 June 1910. The performances of the Ballets Russes were attended by many artists of avant-garde and may have prompted Brancusi to take up the Romanian form of the legend.
  2. The bronze Bird in space originating in a cast of the white marble Bird in space is now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York; gift of Mr and Mrs William A. Burden, New York, with life interest retained (Sidney Geist, Brancusi: A Study of the Sculpture, New York: Grossman Publishers, 1968, cat. no. 225). The bronze Bird in space originating in a cast of the black marble Bird is in the Brancusi Studio at the Musée Nationald'art Moderne, Paris (Geist 1968, cat. no. 226). Athena T. Spear (Brancusi's Birds, New York: New York University Press for the College Art Association of America, 1969, p.49), has identified the two plaster casts made after the black and white marble Birds as 1-24/25 and J-26/27 respectively. Both plasters, currently in the Brancusi Studio, Musée National d'art Moderne, were still displayed on bases in Brancusi's studio at the time of his death
  3. Original document Mrs H.P Roché, Paris. Quoted in Spear, op. cit., entry for cat. no. 22, IX. Henri-Pierre Roché (1879-1959) was at various times a journalist, painter, member of the French High Commission in Washington, and an arts entrepreneur of great flair. Roché arranged the first meeting of Picasso and Gertrude Stein, and was an art adviser to the American John Quinn. He was also the author of Jules et Jim (1953), the novel from which the famous Truffaut film of the same name was made in 1961.
  4. Text of letter enclosing photographs given in full in Spear, op. cit., p.116; handwritten notation by Henri-Pierre Roché, dated 11.5.1936 that payment had been received for both Birds (original document Mrs H.-P. Roché, Paris, quoted in Spear, op. Cit.,cat. no.24, X.). Prince Yeshwant Rao Holkar Bahadur acceded to the throne of the Kingdom of Indore (today part of the vast state of Madhya Pradesh in central India) in 1930, at the age of twenty-three. The Maharaja had studied at Oxford and was a great admirer of modern art Enlisting the assistance of the young German architect Eckart Muthesius, he set out to make his palace, Manik Bagh, on the outskirts of the city of Indor, a showplace of European avant-garde style of the 1930s. In addition to classic designs, which included Eileen Gray's Transit chair and le Corbusier's Chaise longue, especially upholstered in leopard skin, there were commissioned furnishings by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Louis Sognot, as well as designs by René Herbst, carpets by Da Silva Bruhns and flatware by Jean Puiforçat. (A number of these pieces appearedat a Sotheby's auction in Monte Carlo on 25 May 1980.) With his young bride, the Maharanee Sanyogit Devi Holkar, the Maharaja was a glamorous figure in European society in the 1930s. Man Ray, who photographed the couple on their honeymoon in Cannes, vividly recollects the life-style-complete with racehorses, fast cars, jazz and jewels-in his autobiography Self Portrait New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979, cf. pp.172-5.
  5. Marielle Tabart and Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, Brancusi Photographe, Paris: Musée National d'art Moderne, 1979, pl. 86 and comment p.123.
  6. Spear, Brancusi's Birds, op.cit., cat. no. 21, IX.
  7. The complete text of this message, dated spring 1936, is as follows (original document Mrs H.-P Roché, Paris; quoted in Spear, op.cit., cat. no. 24, X): 'Je vais vous donner des photos de mes oiseaux, avec des dates, depuis le premier / La hauteur de l'oiseau ne veut rien dire en soir (C'est comme la longueur d'un morceau de musique.) [this sentence is erased] Ce sont les proportions intimes de l'objet qui font tout. / Les prix ont varié salon les époques et les nécessités. Les acheteurs ont une pudeur à eux et ne veulent pas qu 'on dise les prix qu'ils ont payés. / J'aivendu certains oiseaux plus de 100,000 frs, d'autres moins. / Pour les derniers oiseaux les différences entre eux n'apparaissent guère sur les photos. Chacun est pourtant fait d'une inspiration neuve, indépendante de celle du précédent. Je pourrai montre à votre ami, sur quelques moulages de plâtre leur differences subtiles. / Mes oiseaux sont une série d'objets différents sur une recherche centrale qui reste la même. / L'ideal de la réalisation de cet objet devait être un agrandissement pour remplir la voûte du ciel. Mes deux derniers oiseaux, le noir et le blanc, sont ceux oû je me suis approché le plus de la mesure juste-et je me suis approché de cette mesure au fur et à mesure que j'ai pu me débarasser de moi-même'.
  8. Sidney Geist, correspondence with the Gallery, 11 September 1984.
  9. Although generally assumed to have been in 1933, the exact date of the Maharaja's visit to Brancusi's studio has not been firmly established. Roché's recollection (see n.8) that at the time of his visit the Maharaja 'had not much money' might mean that the visit took place before the Maharaja formally acceded to the Indore throne on 9 May 1930 — after which he had a good deal of money. On the other hand Brancusi's last-minute decision to subtitle the Column of the kiss as 'Part of the project for the Temple of Love' in the catalogue for his exhibition which opened at the Brummer Gallery, New York, on 17 November 1933, may reflect the recent discussion of such a temple between Brancusi and the Maharaja, thus situating the visit in October-November 1933. Brancusi cabled New York on 5 November 1933 requesting the addition to the catalogue entry for the Column of the kiss. His handwritten copy of the cable is in the archive of his papers bequested to the Musée National d'art Moderne, Paris. Spear, op. cit., p.33, no. 16, also believes that the Column of the kiss, subtitled 'Part of the project for the Temple of Love', 'was intended for the temple of Indore'. The amendment to the title would therefore post-date the Maharaja's visit to Brancusi's studio. However, Sidney Geist has pointed out that the notion of a temple had been in Brancusi's mind from an early date (see Sidney Geist, Brancusi/The Kiss, New York: Harper and Row, 1978, p.71). It seems likely that Brancusi suggested the idea to the Maharaja, sensing that he had at last found a patron capable of bearing the expense. Nevertheless, the last-minute change to the catalogue entry effected by Brancusi on 5 November 1933 may still reflect his revitalisation of the notion of the temple as a tangible 'project' following the Maharaja's visit. The Maharaja is known to have been in Paris from the first week of October 1933 until the last week in January 1934 (see Friedrich TejaBach, Constantin Brancusi: Metamorphosen Plastischer Form, Cologne: DuMont Buctverlag, 1987, p.364, n.273).
  10. Henri-Pierre Roché, 'Souvenirs sur Brancusi', L'Oeil, Paris, no.29, May 1957, pp.12-17, cf. p.16: 'Le visiteur regarda toutes les oeuvres avec une lenteur et un calme de conte de fées. ll n'avait pas a cette époque beaucoup d'argent. Il tire son petit carnet de sa poche et entreprit des calculs soigneaux. Pourquoi? / Il voulait simplement acheter les trois oeuvres capitales et soeurs qui étaient là : un grand 'Oiseau dans l'espace en marbre noir, un en marbre blanc, un en bronze poli' Trio unique au monde. Il calculait l'argent dont il disposait. / Il voulait aussi, plus tard, faire batir pour eux un temple par Brancusi, de douze pas sur douze, posé sur la pelouse [sic] près de son palais, tombé du ciel, sans portes ni fenêtres avec une entrée souterraine, un temple pour méditer, ouvert à tous, mais à tous, mais à un à la fois seulement. / Il y aurait à l'interieur un Miroir d'eau carré, avec les trois Oiseaux sur trois côtes et une haute statue de chêne, 'L'Esprit de Bouddha', par Brancusi, sur le quatrième, et une disposition telle que l'Oiseau d'Or fut frappé en plein par le soleil de midi, à travers le trou circulaire du plafond, tel jour sacré de l'année. Un dessin du temple fut bientôt fait.'
  11. References to 'Brancusi's temple' can be found well before the appearance of the Maharaja on the scene. In a letter to John Quinn dated 29 March 1922 Henri-Pierre Roché writes: 'Brancusi would like to build a temple, even if just a small one' (letter in John Quinn Collection, Manuscript Division, New York Public Library, quoted in Geist, op. cit, p.71) In a letter of 11 November 1926 to William Bird, Ezra Pound writes: 'However, you can let your fancy play as to the course of modern art if I had an income, esp. during the 1912-14 period, Epstein, Gaudier, Lewis. . . And, later, Brancusi's temple etc' (quoted in Geist, op. cit., p.109n). Brancusi of course was not alone in this dream of building a temple to house his sculptures. Jacob Epstein had planned a'Temple of Love' in 1905 (see Richard Buckle, Jacob Epstein: Sculptor, London: Faber and Faber, 1963, p.18), and Amedeo Modigliani dreamed of creating a temple surrounded by hundreds of 'colonnes de tendresse', his own sculptures, of which the most likely candidate is the Standing figure in the collection of the Australian National Gallery (see Gotthard Jedlicka, Modigliani 1884-1920, Zurich: E. Rentach, 1953, pp.33-4). For an overview of these artists architectural projects see Edith Balas, 'The Unbuilt Architecture of the Early Modern Sculptors', Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. 110, no. 1426, November 1987, pp.181-90.
  12. Henri-Pierre Roché's letters of 1936 to Brancusi, written on behalf of the Maharaja, and dated 25 April, 7 May and 9 August, are cited in full in Pontus Hulten, Natalia Dumitresco and Alexandre Istrati, Brancusi, Paris: Flammarion, 1986; New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1987, 1987, p.217.
  13. Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. Cit., p.217, from Roché's letter dated 25 April 1936.
  14. These sketches are reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.219, figs C, D, E, R G.
  15. Letter from Henri-Pierre Roché to Brancusi dated 7 May 1936, reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.217.
  16. Sketch reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.219, fig. H.
  17. Stefan Georgescu-Gorjan, 'Contributii inedite la cunoasterea unui proiect al lui Brâncusi, Templul din Indore', Arta (Bucharest), vol. 25, no. 4, April 1978, pp.25-8.
  18. Letter from Octav Doicescu to Radu Varia dated 31 October 1977, quoted in Radu Varia, Brancusi, New York: Rizzoli, 1986, p.293.
  19. Letter from Henri-Pierre Roché to Brancusi dated 25 April 1936, reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.217.
  20. In addition to Roché's recollections, first published in 1957 (see n.8), the reminiscences of other friends of Brancusi should be consulted, many of which were elicited in interviews with Friedrich Teja Bach and published in his book Constantin Brancusi: Metamorphosen Plastischer Form(Cologne: DuMontBuchverlag, 1987) Of interest to the temple are the notes of Jacqueline Matisse Monnier (who was a student with Brancusi in the winters of 1949-50 and 1950-51), in particular her notes for 4 March 1950, pp.228-9; Jacques Hérold cf. p.260 and his sketch p.94, fig. 143; Francois-Xavier Lalanne, cf. p.264 and sketches p.178, figs. 264 and 265; Michel Seuphor, cf. p.309.
  21. Brancusi, as quoted by P Morand's Brancusi, the catalogue of the Brancusi exhibition at the Brummer Gallery, New York, 1926
  22. The death of the Maharanee in Paris in 1937 may well have contributed to the Maharaja's failing interest in the project and the palace at Manik Bagh: 'Shortly after the death of the Maharanee, Yeshwant Rao married Marguerite Lawler Branyen, from North Dakota, his daughter's nurse. They divorced in Reno, Nevada, in 1943. As part of the settlement, he gave her Brancusi's Bird in space in bronze [now in The Simon Foundation, California]. He then married another American, Faye Watt Crane, from Los Angeles' (Varia, op. Cit., p.306, n.3).
  23. While in Indore, Brancusi was observed polishing the marble Birds by Harishankar Tiwari, an official at Indore, who so advised Sidney Geist in correspondence (see Sidney Geist, 'The Birds', Artforum, vol. 9, no. 3, November 1970, pp.74-82, cf. p.82). Tiwari's recollections of Brancusi's visit are also reported in Sumit Mitra, Dinesh Awasthi and Chander Uday Singh, 'Mysterious Flight', India Today (New Delhi), vol. 15 15 August 1982, pp.76-7. Brancusi gave an unfavourable account of his stay in Indore to François Stahly, who first met the artist in 1945-46. Stahly's report is reprinted in Bach, op. cit., p.314: 'D'abord le Maharadja l'avait fait attendre plusieurs semaines dans les antichambres de son palais, puis Brancusi présentant finalement son oeuvre au Maharadja, n'ayant confiance en personne, a voulu porter lui-même son marbre sur l'épaule et a cassé au tournant d'une porte le "bec" de son Oiseau!' ('Initially the Maharaja had made him si [Brancusi] wait several weeks in the antechambers of his palace; then, when Brancusi finally came to present his work to the Maharaja, having confidence in no-one, he carried the marble himself on his shoulders and turning through a doorway he broke the "beak" of his Bird!) The tip of the white marble bird had been broken off and re-glued long before it came into the Gallery's possession. Brancusi also later told Alexandre Istrati and Natalia Dumitresco that while in India he 'changed one of the supporting pins' of the Birds (Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.231). This may account for the difference in the supporting pin of the white marble bird, which is bronze, and the machine-turned stainless steel pin of the black marble Bird, which is obviously a replacement.
  24. See n.18.
  25. A detailed account of the installation of the black and white marble Birds at the Gallery can be found in an article by Nathan Stolow, 'Brancusi's Birds in Space: A Conservation Installation Project', International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, no. 4,1985, pp.345-58.
  26. Precise measurements of the original bases were supplied by Richard L. Feigen, New York, in correspondence with the Gallery, 27 October 1981 (ANG file 81/127, folio 11).
View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.961 © Constantin Brancusi. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The bird was a central theme in Brancusi's oeuvre. Over a period of at least thirty years he completed twenty-seven sculptures of birds in marble and bronze. His first bird, Maiastra, 1910-12 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Katherine S. Dreier Bequest) was inspired by the legendary Pasarea maiastra (Master bird), a magic bird in Romanian folklore famed for its radiant plumage and marvellous song, a messenger of love who guided and protected Prince Charming in his search for his Princess.1 Brancusi returned to the theme again and again, each sculpture prompting refinements in the next. From the comparatively naturalistic Maiastra — with its majestic demeanour, outstretched neck and open beak — of which he made seven variations (three in marble, four in bronze) — through a series of four variations (two in marble, two in bronze) which he called Golden bird (L'oiseau d'or), the form becomes more attenuated, taller, absorbing the head and neck in a swelling urn of marble. Finally, in 1923, he established the form of Bird in space, which exists in sixteen versions (seven in marble, nine in bronze) an aeriform blade of marble or polished bronze soaring upwards in such equilibrium that the sculptor was obliged to anchor it by inserting a metal rod running internally from the narrow footing up into the body of the sculpture. The black and white marble Birds in the Gallery's collection are Brancusi's final marble versions of Bird in space, and the black marble version is the tallest he carved; from each a bronze was cast.1

A handwritten notation dated 19 January 1932, by Brancusi's friend Henri-Pierre Roché, states: 'Oiseau marbre noir, pas fini 250,000 frs'.3 This provides an approximate starting date for the black marble Bird in space but a certain completion date for both Birds cannot be established before the spring of 1936, when Brancusi sent photographs of them to their dashing new owner, Yeshwant Rao Holkar, Maharaja of Indore.4

A photograph of the black marble Bird in space taken by Brancusi in his studio has been dated to c.1933 by Marielle Tabart and Isabelle Monod-Fontaine.5 At the same time Brancusi photographed a white marble Bird using similar dramatic lighting. Traditionally this Bird has been identified with that made by Brancusi in 1930 and formerly in the collection of Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York. This identification is debatable.

According to information supplied by Marcel Duchamp to Athena T. Spear in 1962, Brancusi sold this Bird to Mrs. Charles Rumsey, New York, in c.1929-30.6 It seems more likely therefore, that if the dating of the photograph to c.1933 is correct, this photograph is of the white marble Bird subsequently sent to the Maharaja. Visually, this also seems more correct, as the photograph clearly shows that flaring of the 'neck' of the white Bird where it meets the collar, a distinctive feature of the Bird sent to the Maharaja. Brancusi accompanied the photographs he sent to the Maharaja in 1936 with a message, dictated to Henri-Pierre Roché, in which he said:

The height of the 'Bird' is meaningless in itself … It is the internal proportions of the object which count … The differences between the most recent 'Birds' can scarcely be seen in the photographs. Each, however, is the result of a fresh inspiration, unrelated to that of the one before … My 'Birds' are a series of different objects in a questhat remains the same. The ideal realisation of this quest would be an enlarged version that would fill the vault of the sky. My two most recent 'Birds', in black and white, are the ones where I got closest to the right proportion — and I approached this correct proportion to such a degree that I was able to rid myself of myself.7

Of the proportions of these Birds, Sidney Geist has written:

The white marble Bird in space is close to the taller Bird of 1930 (formerly collection Nelson Rockefeller, New York) in the proportion of footing to total height. But its body is newly slender where it springs from the footing, making for the easiest, swiftest such transition in the oeuvre. The black marble is unique among the' Birds' in its colour and is also the tallest he created, 1¾ inches taller than the Rockefeller. Although Brancusi placed no importance on size — valuing instead measure, proportion — great size, coupled with the extreme hardness of black marble, made the execution of the last Bird a demanding task. The proportion of footing to total height is below the average for this Bird in Space (while that of the white Bird is above the average) and close to that of the much smaller Zurich grey marble c.1925-31, (Kunsthaus, Zurich). But whereas the latter is quite erect, with a 'proud' stance, the black tilts to the rear as though to levitate. The emphasis on the body resulting from the relatively short footing is in keeping with the density of the black 'matière', in contrast to the more delicate body of the white Bird.8

It is worth noting that the subtle differences in the poise of the black and white marble Birds is also reflected in the proportions of the bases. In both cases the line of intersection of the 'legs' of the solid X bases does not occur at the centre but slightly lower (by exactly one-tenth of the total height of the bases), so that the basses appear to push their weight upwards in anticipation of this same action by the Birds themselves. Predictably, the base of the black marble Bird is the fatter of the two bases, and yet the indent cut to form the squatting X shape is shallower than in the base of the white marble Bird. Thus the deeply cut base of the white marble Bird in space appears springy by comparison.

Although the Maharaja of Indore did not take delivery of the black and white marble Birds until the end of 1936, he had reserved both and a further bronze Bird in space (now with the Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena, California) on an earlier visit to Brancusi's studio, probably in late 1933.9 Henri-Pierre Roché, who conducted the Maharaja to Brancusi's studio, later recalled of this visit:

The visitor [the Maharaja] looked at every work slowly and quietly as in a fairy-tale. He had not much money at the time. He pulled his little notebook out of his pocket and began careful calculations. Why? He simply wanted to buy the three major and related works which were there: a large Bird in space in black marble, one in white marble and one in polished bronze. A unique trio. He was counting the money he was able to spend. He also wanted, later, to have a temple built for them by Brancusi, twelve steps by twelve, placed on the lawn near his palace, as if it had fallen from the sky without doors or windows, with an underground entrance, a temple in which to meditate, open to everybody but to only one person at a time. Inside, there would be a square mirror of water with the three Birds on three sides and a tall oak sculpture, Spirit of Buddha by Brancusi, on the fourth side, arranged so that the Golden Bird [in polished bronze] would be struck by the sun precisely at noon, through a circular hole in the ceiling, on a particular sacred day of the year. A drawing of the temple was soon made.10

In Roché's recollection it is the Maharaja who introduces the idea of a temple as the ultimate home of the Birds, although this was probably at the prompting of Brancusi, who had long cherished the idea of combining his sculpture and architecture.11

During 1936, with Roché acting as intermediary, a lively correspondence took place between Brancusi and the Maharaja regarding the final form of the temple.12 Originally it seems the Maharaja simply envisaged a 'sacred precinct', open to the air and 'enclosed by a tall, hardy hedge', with the 'Birds sheltering in niches at the sides of a rectangular pool of water'.13 A number of sketches have survived which show Brancusi experimenting with the design of these niches.14 However, as Brancusi took the initiative, the temple became enclosed, a small pantheon-like structure lit by a single open aperture in a vault or dome.15 Another sketch by Brancusi conceived of the monument as a small stupa-like building, very Indian in feeling.16 Clearly the external form of the temple remained in a constant state of change in the artist's mind. The Romanian engineer Stefan Georgescu-Gorjan (who worked with Brancusi on the installation of the memorial at Tirgu Jiu) has written that by the time Brancusi sought his assistance on the Indore project the sculptorenvisaged the temple as egg-shaped,'17 while according to the architect Octav Doicescu, Brancusi apparently talked of the temple in the form of an apple, 'an apple of monumental dimensions, on the scale of a mausoleum; it was to be executed in solid marble, in undulating country, at the end of a valley with a river running through'.18

The interior of the proposed temple also appears to have been in a continual state of metamorphosis in the artist's mind. The constant, already present in the correspondence of 1936, was the idea of the three versions of Bird in space purchased by the Maharaja — in white marble, black marble, and polished bronze — arranged around the sides of a square or rectangular pool of water. In the correspondence of 1936 the Maharaja also visualised that the fourth side, opposite the bronze Bird in space, would be occupied by 'a small temple of the Indian God',19 although in Brancusi's mind this later became his own tall, wooden sculpture, originally entitled The spirit of Buddha and subsequently King of kings (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York). Those who later heard Brancusi speak of the project also mention frescoes, of which a trial panel (collection Alexandre Istrati and Natalia Dumitresco, Paris) and a gouache design (Musée National d'art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris ), survive, showing white triangular birds floating horizontally on a blue ground.20 Brancusi visualised the temple as a chamber for spiritual contemplation in which the presiding spirits were to be the three versions of his Bird in space. Perhaps in this context the Birds would have assumed their real meaning for the artist, transcending their avian inspiration to become, rather, a metaphor for the human urge towards spiritual ascension — the flight of the soul. 'All my life', said Brancusi, without any specific reference to the Birds, 'I have only sought the essence of flight. Flight — what bliss'.21

Brancusi arrived in India on 30 December 1937 with the intention of beginning work on the temple but the Maharaja was away (apparently on a tiger hunt) and seemed to have lost interest in the project.22 Brancusi mooned about the palace at Manik Bagh for about a month, polished his Birds for the last time, and then departed on 27 January 1938.23 But he never lost interest in the project. Even in the 1940s and 1950s many friends recalled that Brancusi spoke often and with enthusiasm of the planned temple at Indore.24 Had it been realised it would surely have been one of the most remarkable monuments of modern art.

The installation of the black and white marble Birds in the Australian National Gallery pays homage to Brancusi's unrealised dream, while raising the Birds in the pond itself, rather than beside it, for their own safety.25

Shortly after the Gallery bought the Birds it was advised that the original limestone bases had been destroyed in India. With the aid of precise measurements of the lost originals, replicas were made in 1982, cut from Wondabyne sandstone from the Gosford region of New South Wales, which has the same grainless, even grey colour of the originals.26

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.193.

  1. In Romanian, pasare means 'bird'; maiastra derives from the Latin magister, literally 'master bird'. The Russian form of this same legend was the inspiration for the ballet L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird) by Les Ballets Russes de Serge Diaghilev which was performed for the first time at the Théâtre National de l'Opera, Paris, on 25 June 1910. The performances of the Ballets Russes were attended by many artists of avant-garde and may have prompted Brancusi to take up the Romanian form of the legend.
  2. The bronze Bird in space originating in a cast of the white marble Bird in space is now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York; gift of Mr and Mrs William A. Burden, New York, with life interest retained (Sidney Geist, Brancusi: A Study of the Sculpture, New York: Grossman Publishers, 1968, cat. no. 225). The bronze Bird in space originating in a cast of the black marble Bird is in the Brancusi Studio at the Musée Nationald'art Moderne, Paris (Geist 1968, cat. no. 226). Athena T. Spear (Brancusi's Birds, New York: New York University Press for the College Art Association of America, 1969, p.49), has identified the two plaster casts made after the black and white marble Birds as 1-24/25 and J-26/27 respectively. Both plasters, currently in the Brancusi Studio, Musée National d'art Moderne, were still displayed on bases in Brancusi's studio at the time of his death
  3. Original document Mrs H.P Roché, Paris. Quoted in Spear, op. cit., entry for cat. no. 22, IX. Henri-Pierre Roché (1879-1959) was at various times a journalist, painter, member of the French High Commission in Washington, and an arts entrepreneur of great flair. Roché arranged the first meeting of Picasso and Gertrude Stein, and was an art adviser to the American John Quinn. He was also the author of Jules et Jim (1953), the novel from which the famous Truffaut film of the same name was made in 1961.
  4. Text of letter enclosing photographs given in full in Spear, op. cit., p.116; handwritten notation by Henri-Pierre Roché, dated 11.5.1936 that payment had been received for both Birds (original document Mrs H.-P. Roché, Paris, quoted in Spear, op. Cit.,cat. no.24, X.). Prince Yeshwant Rao Holkar Bahadur acceded to the throne of the Kingdom of Indore (today part of the vast state of Madhya Pradesh in central India) in 1930, at the age of twenty-three. The Maharaja had studied at Oxford and was a great admirer of modern art Enlisting the assistance of the young German architect Eckart Muthesius, he set out to make his palace, Manik Bagh, on the outskirts of the city of Indor, a showplace of European avant-garde style of the 1930s. In addition to classic designs, which included Eileen Gray's Transit chair and le Corbusier's Chaise longue, especially upholstered in leopard skin, there were commissioned furnishings by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Louis Sognot, as well as designs by René Herbst, carpets by Da Silva Bruhns and flatware by Jean Puiforçat. (A number of these pieces appearedat a Sotheby's auction in Monte Carlo on 25 May 1980.) With his young bride, the Maharanee Sanyogit Devi Holkar, the Maharaja was a glamorous figure in European society in the 1930s. Man Ray, who photographed the couple on their honeymoon in Cannes, vividly recollects the life-style-complete with racehorses, fast cars, jazz and jewels-in his autobiography Self Portrait New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979, cf. pp.172-5.
  5. Marielle Tabart and Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, Brancusi Photographe, Paris: Musée National d'art Moderne, 1979, pl. 86 and comment p.123.
  6. Spear, Brancusi's Birds, op.cit., cat. no. 21, IX.
  7. The complete text of this message, dated spring 1936, is as follows (original document Mrs H.-P Roché, Paris; quoted in Spear, op.cit., cat. no. 24, X): 'Je vais vous donner des photos de mes oiseaux, avec des dates, depuis le premier / La hauteur de l'oiseau ne veut rien dire en soir (C'est comme la longueur d'un morceau de musique.) [this sentence is erased] Ce sont les proportions intimes de l'objet qui font tout. / Les prix ont varié salon les époques et les nécessités. Les acheteurs ont une pudeur à eux et ne veulent pas qu 'on dise les prix qu'ils ont payés. / J'aivendu certains oiseaux plus de 100,000 frs, d'autres moins. / Pour les derniers oiseaux les différences entre eux n'apparaissent guère sur les photos. Chacun est pourtant fait d'une inspiration neuve, indépendante de celle du précédent. Je pourrai montre à votre ami, sur quelques moulages de plâtre leur differences subtiles. / Mes oiseaux sont une série d'objets différents sur une recherche centrale qui reste la même. / L'ideal de la réalisation de cet objet devait être un agrandissement pour remplir la voûte du ciel. Mes deux derniers oiseaux, le noir et le blanc, sont ceux oû je me suis approché le plus de la mesure juste-et je me suis approché de cette mesure au fur et à mesure que j'ai pu me débarasser de moi-même'.
  8. Sidney Geist, correspondence with the Gallery, 11 September 1984.
  9. Although generally assumed to have been in 1933, the exact date of the Maharaja's visit to Brancusi's studio has not been firmly established. Roché's recollection (see n.8) that at the time of his visit the Maharaja 'had not much money' might mean that the visit took place before the Maharaja formally acceded to the Indore throne on 9 May 1930 — after which he had a good deal of money. On the other hand Brancusi's last-minute decision to subtitle the Column of the kiss as 'Part of the project for the Temple of Love' in the catalogue for his exhibition which opened at the Brummer Gallery, New York, on 17 November 1933, may reflect the recent discussion of such a temple between Brancusi and the Maharaja, thus situating the visit in October-November 1933. Brancusi cabled New York on 5 November 1933 requesting the addition to the catalogue entry for the Column of the kiss. His handwritten copy of the cable is in the archive of his papers bequested to the Musée National d'art Moderne, Paris. Spear, op. cit., p.33, no. 16, also believes that the Column of the kiss, subtitled 'Part of the project for the Temple of Love', 'was intended for the temple of Indore'. The amendment to the title would therefore post-date the Maharaja's visit to Brancusi's studio. However, Sidney Geist has pointed out that the notion of a temple had been in Brancusi's mind from an early date (see Sidney Geist, Brancusi/The Kiss, New York: Harper and Row, 1978, p.71). It seems likely that Brancusi suggested the idea to the Maharaja, sensing that he had at last found a patron capable of bearing the expense. Nevertheless, the last-minute change to the catalogue entry effected by Brancusi on 5 November 1933 may still reflect his revitalisation of the notion of the temple as a tangible 'project' following the Maharaja's visit. The Maharaja is known to have been in Paris from the first week of October 1933 until the last week in January 1934 (see Friedrich TejaBach, Constantin Brancusi: Metamorphosen Plastischer Form, Cologne: DuMont Buctverlag, 1987, p.364, n.273).
  10. Henri-Pierre Roché, 'Souvenirs sur Brancusi', L'Oeil, Paris, no.29, May 1957, pp.12-17, cf. p.16: 'Le visiteur regarda toutes les oeuvres avec une lenteur et un calme de conte de fées. ll n'avait pas a cette époque beaucoup d'argent. Il tire son petit carnet de sa poche et entreprit des calculs soigneaux. Pourquoi? / Il voulait simplement acheter les trois oeuvres capitales et soeurs qui étaient là : un grand 'Oiseau dans l'espace en marbre noir, un en marbre blanc, un en bronze poli' Trio unique au monde. Il calculait l'argent dont il disposait. / Il voulait aussi, plus tard, faire batir pour eux un temple par Brancusi, de douze pas sur douze, posé sur la pelouse [sic] près de son palais, tombé du ciel, sans portes ni fenêtres avec une entrée souterraine, un temple pour méditer, ouvert à tous, mais à tous, mais à un à la fois seulement. / Il y aurait à l'interieur un Miroir d'eau carré, avec les trois Oiseaux sur trois côtes et une haute statue de chêne, 'L'Esprit de Bouddha', par Brancusi, sur le quatrième, et une disposition telle que l'Oiseau d'Or fut frappé en plein par le soleil de midi, à travers le trou circulaire du plafond, tel jour sacré de l'année. Un dessin du temple fut bientôt fait.'
  11. References to 'Brancusi's temple' can be found well before the appearance of the Maharaja on the scene. In a letter to John Quinn dated 29 March 1922 Henri-Pierre Roché writes: 'Brancusi would like to build a temple, even if just a small one' (letter in John Quinn Collection, Manuscript Division, New York Public Library, quoted in Geist, op. cit, p.71) In a letter of 11 November 1926 to William Bird, Ezra Pound writes: 'However, you can let your fancy play as to the course of modern art if I had an income, esp. during the 1912-14 period, Epstein, Gaudier, Lewis. . . And, later, Brancusi's temple etc' (quoted in Geist, op. cit., p.109n). Brancusi of course was not alone in this dream of building a temple to house his sculptures. Jacob Epstein had planned a'Temple of Love' in 1905 (see Richard Buckle, Jacob Epstein: Sculptor, London: Faber and Faber, 1963, p.18), and Amedeo Modigliani dreamed of creating a temple surrounded by hundreds of 'colonnes de tendresse', his own sculptures, of which the most likely candidate is the Standing figure in the collection of the Australian National Gallery (see Gotthard Jedlicka, Modigliani 1884-1920, Zurich: E. Rentach, 1953, pp.33-4). For an overview of these artists architectural projects see Edith Balas, 'The Unbuilt Architecture of the Early Modern Sculptors', Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. 110, no. 1426, November 1987, pp.181-90.
  12. Henri-Pierre Roché's letters of 1936 to Brancusi, written on behalf of the Maharaja, and dated 25 April, 7 May and 9 August, are cited in full in Pontus Hulten, Natalia Dumitresco and Alexandre Istrati, Brancusi, Paris: Flammarion, 1986; New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1987, 1987, p.217.
  13. Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. Cit., p.217, from Roché's letter dated 25 April 1936.
  14. These sketches are reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.219, figs C, D, E, R G.
  15. Letter from Henri-Pierre Roché to Brancusi dated 7 May 1936, reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.217.
  16. Sketch reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.219, fig. H.
  17. Stefan Georgescu-Gorjan, 'Contributii inedite la cunoasterea unui proiect al lui Brâncusi, Templul din Indore', Arta (Bucharest), vol. 25, no. 4, April 1978, pp.25-8.
  18. Letter from Octav Doicescu to Radu Varia dated 31 October 1977, quoted in Radu Varia, Brancusi, New York: Rizzoli, 1986, p.293.
  19. Letter from Henri-Pierre Roché to Brancusi dated 25 April 1936, reproduced in Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.217.
  20. In addition to Roché's recollections, first published in 1957 (see n.8), the reminiscences of other friends of Brancusi should be consulted, many of which were elicited in interviews with Friedrich Teja Bach and published in his book Constantin Brancusi: Metamorphosen Plastischer Form(Cologne: DuMontBuchverlag, 1987) Of interest to the temple are the notes of Jacqueline Matisse Monnier (who was a student with Brancusi in the winters of 1949-50 and 1950-51), in particular her notes for 4 March 1950, pp.228-9; Jacques Hérold cf. p.260 and his sketch p.94, fig. 143; Francois-Xavier Lalanne, cf. p.264 and sketches p.178, figs. 264 and 265; Michel Seuphor, cf. p.309.
  21. Brancusi, as quoted by P Morand's Brancusi, the catalogue of the Brancusi exhibition at the Brummer Gallery, New York, 1926
  22. The death of the Maharanee in Paris in 1937 may well have contributed to the Maharaja's failing interest in the project and the palace at Manik Bagh: 'Shortly after the death of the Maharanee, Yeshwant Rao married Marguerite Lawler Branyen, from North Dakota, his daughter's nurse. They divorced in Reno, Nevada, in 1943. As part of the settlement, he gave her Brancusi's Bird in space in bronze [now in The Simon Foundation, California]. He then married another American, Faye Watt Crane, from Los Angeles' (Varia, op. Cit., p.306, n.3).
  23. While in Indore, Brancusi was observed polishing the marble Birds by Harishankar Tiwari, an official at Indore, who so advised Sidney Geist in correspondence (see Sidney Geist, 'The Birds', Artforum, vol. 9, no. 3, November 1970, pp.74-82, cf. p.82). Tiwari's recollections of Brancusi's visit are also reported in Sumit Mitra, Dinesh Awasthi and Chander Uday Singh, 'Mysterious Flight', India Today (New Delhi), vol. 15 15 August 1982, pp.76-7. Brancusi gave an unfavourable account of his stay in Indore to François Stahly, who first met the artist in 1945-46. Stahly's report is reprinted in Bach, op. cit., p.314: 'D'abord le Maharadja l'avait fait attendre plusieurs semaines dans les antichambres de son palais, puis Brancusi présentant finalement son oeuvre au Maharadja, n'ayant confiance en personne, a voulu porter lui-même son marbre sur l'épaule et a cassé au tournant d'une porte le "bec" de son Oiseau!' ('Initially the Maharaja had made him si [Brancusi] wait several weeks in the antechambers of his palace; then, when Brancusi finally came to present his work to the Maharaja, having confidence in no-one, he carried the marble himself on his shoulders and turning through a doorway he broke the "beak" of his Bird!) The tip of the white marble bird had been broken off and re-glued long before it came into the Gallery's possession. Brancusi also later told Alexandre Istrati and Natalia Dumitresco that while in India he 'changed one of the supporting pins' of the Birds (Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati, op. cit., p.231). This may account for the difference in the supporting pin of the white marble bird, which is bronze, and the machine-turned stainless steel pin of the black marble Bird, which is obviously a replacement.
  24. See n.18.
  25. A detailed account of the installation of the black and white marble Birds at the Gallery can be found in an article by Nathan Stolow, 'Brancusi's Birds in Space: A Conservation Installation Project', International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, no. 4,1985, pp.345-58.
  26. Precise measurements of the original bases were supplied by Richard L. Feigen, New York, in correspondence with the Gallery, 27 October 1981 (ANG file 81/127, folio 11).
View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | signed, dated and titled verso u.r. (left canvas) and u.l. (centre and right canvases), blue fibre-tipped pen, "Triptych 1970/ Francis Bacon" Collection: National Gallery of Australia Purchased 1973 NGA 1974.263.A-C © Francis Bacon. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The features of the man, dapperly dressed in the left canvas, and naked in the right canvas, are recognisably those of George Dyer. Bacon met Dyer in 1964 and he became Bacon's close friend and primary model for over a decade, his presence persisting in Bacon's work well beyond his death in Paris in October 1971. Bacon preferred to work from memory and photographs. As a point of departure he often used the serial photographs which Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) made in the 1880s of humans and animals in motion and published in the enormous compendium Animal Locomotion in 1887. The image in the central panel of the Canberra painting was adopted from Muybridge's photographs of wrestlers. Bacon had used this image on a number of previous occasions, at first in Two figures 1953 (private collection, London) and, contemporaneously with the Canberra painting, in the central panel of Triptych — studies from the human body 1970 (collection Jacques Hachuel, Paris). However, Muybridge's photographs may also have been the source of another feature that is unique to the Canberra Triptych - the suspended platforms that support the figure in the left and in the right panels. While the overlapping geometric forms of the platforms may recall Bacon's own early designs for modernist furniture, the complex system of lines denoting ropes or wires from which these platforms are suspended seem to be derived from Muybridge's serial photographs of a woman getting into and out of a hammock - also from Animal Locomotion.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.402.

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed l.r., water-based paint, "Sonia DELAUNAY", dated verso, pen-and-ink on paper label, "Mai 1914" Purchased 1985 NGA 1985.225 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Sonia Delaunay was probably the first modern artist to attempt to apply pictorial notions of abstraction to objects of everyday use. This seems to have begun immediately following her marriage to Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) in November 1910, when she temporarily put aside her own painting to contend with a baby and the decoration of their new apartment. She appliquéd bed quilts, cushion covers, lampshades and curtains, made clothes and covered books, juxtaposing bright fragments of fabric and paper in a way which paralleled Robert Delaunay's paintings based on the principle of 'the simultaneous contrast of colours'. A number of her Simultanist objects were exhibited alongside Delaunay's paintings at the first Herbst Salon, at Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin in 1913.

A sketchbook doodle playing with the word 'Zone', executed late in 1912 or early 1913, probably represents her first attempt to integrate typography and the abstract inclinations of her art.1 'Zone' was the title of a poem written by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) in the summer of 1912, in which he suggested, among other things, that posters might be considered the poetry of modern life.2 Delaunay's doodle was an idea for the cover or poster prospectus of a proposed joint publication, early in 1913, of the poems of Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961) and Apollinaire. She went on, in 1913, to design Simultanist posters for a lecture on her work and that of her husband, delivered by Alexander Smirnoff at the St Petersburg nightclub The Stray Dog in July, and later in 1913 she produced a pictorial edition of Cendrar's poem 'La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France' (Prose of the Trans-Siberian, and of little Jehanne of France). With Cendrars she also planned a series of 'poster poems' based on well-known commercial brand names.

Only Zenith, the first of the series, included a poem by Cendrars; the others, for Chocolat, Pirelli, Pernod and Dubonnet, were created independently by Delaunay. In an interview in 1970 she stated that the intention of these product 'poster poems' was 'to make money and to sell the posters'.3 But none of the designs were ever shown to the companies concerned, and it may be that this initial motive was superseded by an interest in simply making works of art around images of advertising, linking the principles of simultaneity with quintessentially modernist subject-matter. The size and resolution of the Canberra painting exceeds any practical requirements for a poster mock-up.

Three works by Delaunay relate to the Dubonnet theme: a collage in the collection of the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; a painting in the collection of Elaine Lustig Cohen, New York and the Australian National Gallery's painting. While the Cohen painting closely follows the format of the original collage, the Gallery's painting effectively reverses the design so that the rounded letters 'dubo' are cradled more comfortably against the circular colour disc than the angular letters 'nnet'. The Gallery's work is the largest and most considered of the three versions and therefore almost certainly the last of the group. An early label on the back of the painting in Delaunay's handwriting dates the painting to 'Mai 1914'.

This dating of the work is slightly confused by the inscription painted along the bottom of both the Dubonnet paintings: 'ATELIERS "SIMULTANE" SONIA DELAUNAY'.4 Sonia Delaunay established the Atelier Simultané in Paris in 1924 mainly for the purpose of printing her own 'simultaneous textiles', but also for other commercial ventures and, as far as can be determined, did not use the term before this. It would seem, then, that the painted inscription was placed on the painting in 1924, and this would correspond to the sudden renewed interest in the Dubonnet design at that time.5 On 1 August 1924 Delaunay registered the design for Dubonnet at the Patent Office in Paris, reviving its commercial possibilities under the name of her new enterprise.6

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.260.

  1. Zone, 1913, pen-and-ink and coloured crayons, 32.0 x 50.0 cm (125/8 x 1911/16"), estate of Sonia Delaunay, Paris.
  2. 'Zone' was first published in Les Soirées de Paris in December 1912, by which time Apollinaire was living in the studio of Robert and Sonia Delaunay. It was subsequently published as the first poem in Apollinaire's anthology Alcools. Poèmes, 1898-1913, published by Mercure de France, April 1913; a corrected proof copy of this anthology (private collection, Paris) bears a dedication from Apollinaire to Robert and Sonia Delaunay dated 1912. Sonia Delaunay made a collage cover for this volume.
  3. Sonia Delaunay, interview with Arthur Cohen, 22 July 1970, reprinted in Arthur A. Cohen, The New Art of Color: The Writings of Robert and Sonia Delaunay, New York: Viking Press, 1978, pp.215-25, cf. p.220.
  4. Transcribed as it appears on the Gallery's painting. In the case of the Cohen painting it is slightly different: 'atelier simultane sonia delaunay'.
  5. Delaunay may have used a similar strategy in updating earlier designs for her new enterprise with regard to a letterhead, which she printed in pochoir in 1913. The Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, holds one of these letterheads inscribed in crayon 'Ateliers "simultanes"' and with the names of the cities New York, Petrograd, Tokyo, London, Berlin. It is the name Petrograd which indicates that these crayon inscriptions were not contemporary with the printing of the pochoir letterhead in 1913. St Petersburg was renamed Petrograd in August 1914 (and renamed Leningrad in January 1924). For inscribed letterhead see Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1977 (exhibition catalogue), cat. nos 329, 330.

    It is interesting to note that in 123-24 Robert Delaunay also made some designs for a Dubonnet poster; see Sonia and Robert Delaunay, op. cit. cat. nos 411-12.
  6. On the registration of the patent see Robert et Sonia Dulaunay, Paris: Musèe National d'Art Moderne 1967 (exhibition cataloge) cat. No. 86
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and numbered on white calico printed label, stitched l.c., black fibre-tipped pen, "6/ Trockel" Purchased 1995 NGA 1995.123.1-2 © Rosemarie Trockel. Licensed by BIld-Kunst & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance signed, dated and titled, verso u.l., pencil, "FIRE PARTY FOR BOOMERANG MAN / WITH WROUGHT IRON CURLS / VAN VLIET / 1984" Purchased 1985 NGA 1985.1988 © Don Van Vliet Provenance signed and dated reverse u.r., fibre-tipped pen, "Budd /72" Purchased 1980 NGA 1981.1240 Provenance not signed, not dated Gift of Mo Wedd-Buchholz 1992 NGA 1992.1521 Provenance signed and dated verso u.c, pastel, "Fetting/ 2 Indianer/ 1982" Purchased 1983 NGA 1983.1522 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1994 NGA 1994.1233 © Salvador Dali. Licensed by Demart Pro Arte & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Salvador Dalí produced two of the most hilarious objects spawned by the Surrealist movement, his Lobster telephone 1936 and Mae West lips sofa 1937. Both objects were commissioned from the artist by the English poet and collector Edward James (1907-1984), a wealthy and eccentric patron who had inherited a vast English estate and fortune at the age of five, and who has been aptly described as 'virtually a present-day adumbration of the mad Ludwig of Bavaria, capaciously rich and richly capricious, only a little less than Ludwig in wealth and eccentricity.' A leading supporter of the Surrealists, James financed the early issues of the great Surrealist magazine Minotaure, and was also an active patron of the Belgian artist René Magritte, whom he met through Dalí. James spent a small fortune on Dalí himself, and eventually owned between forty and fifty of his best works, all from the 1930s (his greatest period).

Inspired by Dalí, Edward James proceeded in the 1930s to turn his country manor into a fantasy palace filled with every kind of strange and exotic object. As well as placing three of Dalí's sofas in the shape of Mae West's lips into his living quarters, James asked Dalí to 'make-over' his telephones as well. Dali suggested that James fill his rooms with what he called 'The surrealist object - one that is absolutely useless from the practical and rational point of view, created wholly for the purpose of materialising in a fetishistic way, with the maximum of tangible reality, ideas and fantasies having a delirious character.' He then conceived a truly unforgettable object, his irresistibly playful lobster perched atop a phone, which was also called the Aphrodisiac telephone at the time, a title in keeping with Dalí's wicked sense of humour and desire to baffle his public completely.

Dalí's Lobster telephone was not 'absolutely useless', however, but was in fact a perfectly functioning telephone. Edward James purchased four Lobster telephones from Dalí, with which he replaced all the original phones in his country retreat. One of these (a partial reconstruction) is now in the collection of the Tate Gallery, London; the second is housed at the German Telephone Museum (Deutsches Postmuseum) in Frankfurt; the third is owned by the Edward James Foundation, London. The fourth original Lobster telephone (which is in the same perfect condition as it was in James' house) is now in the National Gallery of Australia.

adapted from Michael Desmond, NGA acquisition submission, August 1994, by Lucina Ward

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works signed and dated u.r., oil, "A. Gorky/ 47" Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.833 © Arshile Gorky. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Gorky's paintings are inevitably preceded by a preliminary drawing. He would select from existing drawings, usually done in the warmer months, to use as the basis for a painting or a number of paintings. The drawing, once transferred to the canvas, would serve as an armature for his colour. The schema would be interpreted freely and could be worked up in a number of interpretations, each a variation on a theme. Two other works share the same underlying drawing as Plumage landscape: Year after year 1947 (collection of Mr and Mrs Gifford Phillips, New York) and Theme for plumage landscape (Call for Virginia) 1947 (private collection).

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.216.

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated verso u.l., crayon, "rf, Lichtenstein/ 61-62" Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.68 © Roy Lichtenstein. Licensed by Lichtenstein, New York & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In the summer of 1961 Lichtenstein abandoned the Abstract Expressionist style of earlier works and began to use commercial art as subject-matter in his painting. Kitchen stove, painted in the winter of 1961-62, was one of the first of those works.

The source of Kitchen stove was probably an advertisement. The painting mischievously retains the copyright symbol, located in the lower left-hand corner, and the Ben Day dots used by printers to reproduce tone. The Ben Day dots in Kitchen stove and other early works are laboriously reproduced by hand, and only later by mechanical means. Lichtenstein stated that it was his intention to follow the original commercial reproduction as closely as possible: 'The closer my work is to the original the more threatening and critical the content'.1

Colour in Kitchen stove is limited to yellow and blue, typical of the restricted palette of these early works. Lichtenstein explained in a 1971 interview that he was:

looking for the most contrast. Each colour had a certain character to me: the yellow was acid, and a colour that seemed to contrast as much as possible with it was a blue that was almost violet … I got some of these colours from supermarket packaging. I would look at package labels to see what colours had the most impact on one another. The idea of contrast seemed to be what advertising was into in this case. An advertisement is so intensely impersonal!'.2

The simple placement of the image in this composition is repeated in other works of 1961-63, such as Cherry pie 1961 (collection Anthony Berlant, Los Angeles), Golf ball 1962 (collection Melvin Hirsh, Beverly Hills), and Roto-broil 1961 (collection Leonard Asher, Los Angeles) which depict the consumer goods of a post-war United States. 'In these objects', said Lichtenstein, 'the golf ball, the frankfurter, and so on, there is an anti-Cubist composition. You pick an object and put it on a blank ground. I was interested in non-Cubist composition. The idea is contrary to the major direction of art since the early Renaissance which has more and more symbolised the integration of "figure" and "ground"'.3

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.316.

  1. John Coplans, 'An Interview with Roy Lichtenstein', Artforum, vol. 2, no. 4, October 1963, p.31.
  2. Diane Waldman, Roy Lichtenstein, London: Thames and Hudson, 1971, p.26.
  3. John Coplans, 'Talking with Roy Lichtenstein', Artforum, vol. 5, no. 9, May 1967, pp.34-9, p.34. See also Phyllis Tuchman, 'Pop! Interviews with George Segal, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Robert Indiana', Artnews, vol. 73, no. 5, May 1974, pp.24-9, p.27.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated (possibly not in artist's hand) verso u.r., synthetic polymer paint, "Andy Warhol 67" Purchased 1977 NGA 1977.795 © Andy Warhol. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The image of the electric chair was first used by Warhol in 1964 in the 'Death and Disaster' series, a loose group of works that occupied the artist from 1962 to 1965. Warhol noted that it was Henry Geldzahler, then curator of Twentieth Century Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:

who gave me the idea to start the Death and Disaster series. We were both having lunch one day in the summer [of 1962] … and he laid the Daily News out on the table. The headline was '129 die in jet', and that's what started me on the death series - the Car Crashes, the Disasters, the Electric Chairs…1

The image of the chair - the electric chair at Sing-Sing Gaol, New York - was repeated as multiple images in the first series. In 1967, in preparation for his retrospective at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the following year, Warhol, re-used the image for a series of fourteen paintings in different colour combinations. Here only a single image of the chair is used.

The Australian National Gallery's work is from this series. The same image was used again in 1971 in a portfolio of ten screenprints published by Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich.

The Gallery also holds a later suite of paintings by Andy Warhol, Henry Gillespie 1985.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.328.

  1. Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett, POPism: The Warhol? '60s, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980, p.17.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated verso u.l., maroon oil paint, "Mark Rothko / 1957" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.729 © Mark Rothko. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Brown, black on maroon is characteristic of Rothko's mature style, composed of soft-edged blocks of colour that float above each other. Throughout the early 1950s he had employed bright colours-reds, yellow, oranges and blues-in harmonious combinations. But in 1957, the year this work was painted, a perceptible shift was occurring in Rothko's paintings. Fewer and darker colours were used, giving a sombre expression of his work. Rothko was still painting 'dramas', a term he had used to describe the subject of his paintings of the 1940s, using colour as the 'instrument': 'I exclude no emotion from being actual and therefore pertinent', he said in 1957. 'I take the liberty to play on any string of my existence. I might as an artist, be lyrical, grim, maudlin, humorous, tragic.'1 At that moment, however, Rothko's paintings reflected a more limited range of mood; among the 'ingredients' of his art listed in a lecture he delivered at the Pratt Institute in 1958, was 'a clear preoccupation with death. All art deals with intimations of mortality'.2 To Dore Ashton, a regular visitor to his studio at this time, Rothko claimed that 'he was creating the most violent painting in America'.3 Ashton interpreted this as referring to the conflict inherent in the association of colours that Rothko conceived of as the symbolic equivalents of emotions. The 'dark' emotions that permeate Brown, black on maroon and other paintings of 1957 were, with certain exceptions, the basis for all the works Rothko painted until he committed suicide in February 1970.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.250.

  1. Elaine de Kooning, 'Kline and Rothko: Two Americans in Action', Artnews, Annual XXVII, 1958, pp.88-97; 174-9, cf. p.177
  2. Taken from notes made at a lecture by Rothko at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 1958, and published by Dore Ashton in an New York Times, 31 October 1958 and reprinted in 'The New York School', Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1965 (exhit p.142.
  3. Dore Ashton, About Rothko (exhibition catalogue), New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, p.138.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated l.l., "Jackson Pollock 52";
(originally inscribed with a "3", subsequently painted over with a "2") Purchased 1973 NGA 1974.264 © Jackson Pollock. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Blue poles was first exhibited at Pollock's solo show at Sidney Janis Gallery in 1952 ('Jackson Pollock, 10-29 November 1952) where it was titled Number 11, 1952. Pollock's decision to forego conventional descriptive titles and simply number his paintings, including the year oftheir execution, began with his 1949 exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery ('Jackson Pollock, Recent Paintings', 24 January-12 February 1949). Some painting originally given number titles when they were first exhibited were later given more descriptive titles. For example, Number 10, 1952 became Convergence (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York). This is also the case with Number 11, 1952. The painting was first given the title Blue poles, and dated separately as 1952, in the exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1954 ('9 American Painters Today', 4-23 January 1954). Sidney Janis recalled clearly that the new title came from Pollock himself.1Thereafter the painting is usually referred to as Blue Poles, although occasionally the earlier and late titles are combined as Blue poles: number 11, 1952.

The date of the painting has frequently and mistakenly been given as 1953. It is clear from the inscription in the bottom left-hand corner of the painting that Pollock initially dated it '53', then changed the '3' to a '2'. The correction should not confuse the date of the painting however, for it was exhibited at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1952 and was reproduced in the issue of Artnews for December 1952, accompanying a review of the Janis exhibition by Robert Goodnough.2

The genesis of Blue poles attracted a good deal of attention following the publication of an article by Stanley P. Friedman in the New York Magazine in 1973, in which he reported that he had been told by Tony Smith, a close friend of Pollock, that Smith himself had initially painted on the canvas that subsequently became Blue Poles.3 Smith told Friedman that he visited Pollock early in 1952:

We were drinking. We decided to paint something together. I wanted to get him out of himself and into colour again. We spread out a large piece of Belgian linen. It must have taken an hour, because it was wrapped in a canvas sack, and inside, it was wrapped in a kind of wax paper.

Jackson started taking down paint. Tube after tube of cadmium red. Jackson said, 'I can't start a painting in red'. The tubes came in sets of three. He kept discarding them. And I thought, hell, we are getting away from what I'm trying to do. So I said I'd start. And by luck, the next tube was cadmium orange. It was the fifteenth tube so I squiggled it on. We had eighteen feet of canvas rolled out. And then I laid the wax paper over the squiggles because they were just lines, and I walked on the paper. I flattened the paint out, and then I took the waxed paper off. And Jackson said, 'So that's the way you do it. Here's how I do it,' end he took a pot of Duco that was black and threw the paint on. It turned out a sort of bilious green. And then we started to lay it on. We were drinking. The paint ended up a half-inch thick on the canvas. You can see it. We took off our shoes because we were walking on it. Jackson was using glass tubes filled with paint. They were basting tubes, with rubber bulbs on one end and about an eighth-of-an-inch opening. But he was gripping the bulbs so hard — because he was in this state — that they clogged. He would throw them down and they would break. So he broke them all.

Tony Smith also told Friedman of another visit to Pollock's studio shortly after, in the company of Barnett Newman (1905-70):

I don't think Jackson had done any work on it [the painting] since that night he and I began it. I'm now hazy about that time in the studio with Barney but I've been reminded by friends about what I told them. They tell me that Barney put in the poles. It would be Barney's approach all right, but it's Jackson's thing too. You can see that the poles were worked on after our visit.

Friedman dutifully reported that when Lee Krasner Pollock (1908-84) confronted Barnett Newman himself with this story, Newman denied that he had had anything to do with the 'poles', which are clearly a late development in the painting. He admitted to Thomas B. Hess, however, that during a visit to the studio with Tony Smith Pollock had used the canvas that would subsequently become Blue poles to demonstrate to them a technique for forcing paint from a tube with a single squeeze and that they all had a go at squeezing from the tube onto the canvas. 'Just a smearing', Hess told Friedman, 'it's all underpainting.'

None of those questioned by Friedman at the time, including Thomas B. Hess, Clement Greenberg, Lee Krasner Pollock and 'a museum official' who preferred to remain anonymous, denied the possibility that Smith or Newman painted on the canvas that subsequently became Blue poles. What they all emphatically denied is that these initial exercises on the canvas contributed in any way to the work which Pollock then built up on the canvas to become Blue poles. This point was not sufficiently emphasised by Friedman in his reporting and this failure provoked angry reaction. The next issue of the New York Magazine (9November 1973) published letters from Thomas B. Hess and Barbara Rose attacking Friedman's interpretation. Hess succinctly put the matter in its proper perspective:

I thought I'd made one thing perfectly clear to New York's reporter Stanley P Friedman … the painting Blue poles is entirely the work of Jackson Pollock. Somebody e/se wove the canvas, of course. And whoever did that had just as important a hand in it as Barnett Newman when he squirted some paint on it in its very first stages. It was tantamount to helping Pollock prepare the canvas for painting — or to stretching it when it was finished. Newman told me that he'd had nothing to do with the painting of Blue poles; he only mentioned the playful first moves to prove his point, and he only brought up the matter at all in order to puncture as emphatically as possible the rumour that he ever had had a part in the picture …4

The issue did not rest there. It was raised again by Francis Valentine O'Connor and Eugene Victor Thaw as editors of the catalogue raisonné of Pollock's works. On 7 January 1974 they convened a meeting at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, to carry out a careful examination of Blue poles, which had been on exhibition there in 'American Art of Mid-Century 1' before its shipment to Australia. Present at this meeting, in addition to the two editors were Lee Krasner Pollock, Bryan Robertson, Gene Baro and Kay Silberfeld, the conservator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Their findings were published in 1978:

An examination of the entire painting revealed that it was painted on a heavy piece of commercially prepared linen, that the paint had not bled through to the back, and that except for a few shards of curved glass embedded in the paint surface toward the lower right, the paint surface, which was in excellent condition, in no way substantiated the description of the initial painting stages published by Stanley P Friedman in 1973.5

The conclusion made here is not that Tony Smith's and Barnett Newman's involvement was incidental, as had been maintained in the earlier critical backlash to Friedman's article, but that it was non-existent, although Lee Krasner Pollock's reported statement in the catalogue raisonné is entirely consistent with her earlier statements: 'Lee Krasner Pollock denied that any other artist participated in the creation of this painting as it looks today' (authors' emphasis).6

On the basis of the few points noted in the catalogue raisonné as the results of their examination of the painting it is difficult to understand the categorical conclusion reached by the editors.7 The problem, as Thomas B. Hess and Clement Greenberg were at pains to point out in their initial response to Friedman's reporting, is that any trace of earlier involvement by Smith or Newman has been covered over by the painting which Pollock subsequently made on this canvas. In fact, it is the evidence of Pollock at work, in a long and exacting process, that is most clearly revealed by a close inspection of Blue poles. Although it appears marvellously spontaneous, exactly as Pollock wished it to appear, close inspection of Blue Poles shows that this effect was achieved neither effortlessly nor spontaneously, neither in a moment of inspired 'action painting' nor drunken fury, the kind of misconceptions Pollock's working method created by Friedman's article.

Blue Poles was a painting that took time and plotting to 'come through' as Lee Krasner Pollock pointed out in an interview with Barbara Rose published in 1980:

A painting like Blue poles he re-entered many many times, and just kept saying, 'This won't come through'. That went on for quite a long time … when he got hung up in something, like Blue poles, where he did get hung up, it took quite a long time. This went on beyond weeks. He might just walk away from it for a stretch of time, and me back, re-enter.8

This is precisely what a close inspection of Blue poles confirms.

The canvas is of high-quality Belgian linen with a commercially oil-primed ground. The earliest visible layer of paint is black, thinning at the edges to a sort of 'bilious green', although this green appears to have been formed by the mixing of yellow and black, not the cadmium orange and black recalled by Tony Smith. This dark layer of paint does not resemble the intricate tracery of black lines that one finds at the base of the contemporaneous painting Convergence 1952, but would appear to have been a thick puddle of paint concentrated towards the centre of the canvas, with sprays emanating out to the edges, particularly noticeable in the top left of the canvas.

The first layer of paint was applied, as had become customary practice for Pollock since 1947, while the canvas was stretched out on the floor. 'On the floor I am more at ease', Pollock wrote in 1947, 'I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting'.9

In several places around the edge of the canvas there are footprints in the dark green and black of the first layer of paint. In most cases the imprint is of shoes and in one case at least, the imprint of a bare foot (top right). This is by no means an exclusive feature of Blue poles. Footprints are equally in evidence around the Convergence 1952, for instance, and were bound to occur in working on paintings of this scale laid out on the floor. The extraordinary photographs which Hans Namuth took of Pollock at work in the summer of 1950 frequently show the artist standing on the edge of the canvas leaning in, and occasionally stretching with his foot right into the centre of the canvas, in order better to control the distribution of paint, particularly when working on the early stages of a painting. 'I do step into the canvas occasionally', Pollock told William Wright in an interview during that same summer, '[but] working from the four sides I don't have to get into the canvas too much'.10

Fragments of glass are also embedded in this layer of paint. Although a concentration of these fragments occurs in a patch in the lower right of the painting, as noted in the catalogue raisonné, tiny shards of glass can be found in many other areas over the canvas. Again, this is not unusual, and again in 1947 Pollock wrote of his technique: 'I continue to get further away from the usual painter's tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc. I prefer sticks trowels, knives and dripping fluid paint or a heavy impasto with sand, broken glass and other foreign matter added'.11The fragments of glass in Blue poles appear to be all of the same consistency, very thin and of a very narrow curvature. It is definitely not bottle glass, as has been suggested.12 The glass is consistent, however, with the glass of basting tubes, mentioned by both Smith and Newman, as an instrument which Pollock was experimenting with in order to exercise greater control over the flow of his paint. Lee Krasner Pollock also remembered the artist using these syringes:

his 'palette' was typically a can or two of this enamel, thinned to the point he wanted it, standing on the floor beside the rolled-out canvas. Then, using sticks and hardened or worn-out brushes (which were In effect like sticks), and basting syringes, he'd begin. His control was amazing. Using a stick was difficult enough but the basting syringe was like a giant fountain pen. With it he had to control the flow of ink [paint], as well as his gesture. He used to buy those syringes by the dozen.13

When the first layer of paint was dry the unstretched canvas was put up on the wall by tacking it along the top edge to a beam that ran along the wall of the studio. Downward arching stretchmarks along the top edge of the canvas are a legacy of the hanging of this canvas. While the painting was hanging in this position, liquid white paint was applied, perhaps squirted onto the canvas using the basting syringes, and allowed to run down, veiling the dark underpaint in a delicate tracery of dribbles.

For the next campaign on the painting the canvas was back on the floor. Using his characteristic method of skeining paint, of pouring fluid paint in a continuous stream onto the canvas from above, using sticks, dried brushes or syringes, Pollock built up a web of rhythmic linear accents using yellow, orange and aluminium paint. The bright colours were unusual for Pollock, but the dark puddle of paint covering the canvas left him little option. In compelling one to look at these linear accents, Frank O'Hara's 1959 description of the finesse and control that Pollock visibly exercised in this process of drawing with flowing paint remains unsurpassed:

There has never been enough said about Pollock's draughtsmanship, that amazing ability to quicken a line by thinning it, to slow it by flooding, to elaborate that simplest of elements, the line — to change, to reinvigorate, to extend, to build up an embarrassment of riches in the mass by drawing alone. And each change in the individual line is what every draftsman has always dreamed of: color.14

Pollock then left the canvas alone for quite some time, for when he next worked on the painting, having decided to paint in the blue poles, it can be seen how the blue paint rides over the thick ridges of the earlier paint layers without any blurring of these, indicating that they were quite dry by that time. Nor are the ridges flattened by the '2 x 4' length of timber that Pollock apparently used as a straight edge for painting in the poles.15The poles are an unusually definite form in the 'all-over' configuration of Pollock's poured paintings and various figurative connotations have been attributed to them — from totems to the swaying masts of tall ships.16 However, it has also been pointed out that these dynamic vertical elements are a recurring formal device in Pollock's work, even if not previously used on this scale, and can be traced back to lessons on composition given by Thomas Hart Benton, Pollock's teacher.17

Pollock integrated the poles by blurring their edges and introducing swathes of black paint that tug at the poles as if caught in a tide. The poles are laced into the composition with fine dripped skeins of white, black and blue paint., In this final operation Pollock used brushes and rags as well as poured paint. Careful adjustments are made. A thin white dripped line that might have faded at the left edge of the canvas is fastidiously painted over at the edge in black. Sections of other dripped lines are tuned with the brush. A fluid orange line traversing a black area at the top right edge is edited, narrowed with delicate black brush marks.18 No flagging is permitted in this spectacular surge of energy. Clearly, the sensation of immediacy, of 'energy made visible', took time and care to 'come through' in Blue poles.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.236.

  1. Sidney Janis, correspondence with the Gallery, 17 January 1986. In this correspondence Janis also quotes Reflections (forthcoming) on the circumstances that gave rise to Pollock’s return to descriptive titles in 1954. ‘On visits to Pollock’s studio at Springs on Long Island, Pollock and I weighed the possibilities, pro and con, of dropping the numbering of his paintings in favor of titles. Pollock all along felt that numbering his pictures according to a yearly sequence was more convenient, an easy way out, but I believed that titles were more specific, a reflection of the artist’s thinking while working, and actually an extension of the picture. Furthermore, I felt that numbering work invited confusion; already, several of his works carrying the same number were identifiable only by year. Titles not only would bypass such possibilities, but at the same time alleviate a built-in trap for future art historians, an argument that left Pollock bemused.’

    Janis continues in the correspondence: ‘In his very next one-man exhibition (February 1954) Pollock had hit upon titles for all his new work. This method was to continue until his death in 1956’. It should be pointed out that Pollock himself referred to his paintings as Blue poles in a conversation with B.H. Friedman in 1955 (see B.H. Friedman, Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible, New York; McGraw-Hill, 1972, p.xvii).
  2. Robert Goodnough, ‘Jackson Pollock’, Artnews, vol. 51, no. 10, December 1952, p.42.
  3. Stanley P. Friedman, ‘Loopholes in ‘Blue Poles’, New York Magazine, 29 October 1973, pp.48-51.
  4. Unfortunately Hess’ placement of events in their proper perspective went unheeded by the press in Australia. The contents of Friedman’s article, mischievously published soon after the announcement of the purchase of Blue poles by the Australian National Gallery for the record price of US$2 million, unleashed hostile reaction in the Australian press, with the level of commentary summed up by the headline in the Daily Mirror for 23 October 1973: ‘$1 MILL. AUST. MASTERPIECE. DRUNKS DID IT’. For more discussion of this reaction see introduction.
  5. Francis Valentine O'Connor and Eugene Victor Thaw, Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works, 4 vols, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1978 (hereafter referred to as C.R.). vol. 2, cat. no. 367. P.193.
  6. ibid., vol. 2., p.193.
  7. Only two observations are made: ‘That the paint had not bled through to the back’, and that there were only shards of glass embedded in the paint surface towards the lower right. The observation made about the glass fragments is challenged later in this entry. The observation ‘that the paint had not bled through to the back’ is difficult to substantiate, for the painting had been re-lined and was not removed for inspection in Washington in January 1974.
  8. Barbara Rose, ‘Jackson Pollock at Work: An interview with Lee Krasner’, Partisan Review, vol. 47, no. 1, 1980, pp.82-92, p.89.
  9. Jackson Pollock, ‘My Painting’, Possibilities, no. 1, Winter 1947-48, pp.78-83.
  10. William Wright, ‘An Interview with Jackson Pollock’, taped at The Springs, Long Island, in the summer of 1950 and broadcast on radio station WER1 in Westerly, Rhode Island. Extracts first published in ‘The Artist Speaks: Part Six’, Art in America, vol. 53, no. 4, August-September 1965, pp.110-30; published in full in Pollock Painting, New York: Agrinde Publications, 1978, n.p.
  11. Pollock, ‘My Painting’, op. cit., pp.78-83. A brief inventory of the ‘foreign matter’ which Pollock introduded into his paintings would include pebbles (C.R., nos. 177, 249, 261), sand (C.R., no. 146), gravel (C.R., no. 169), nails (C.R., no. 172), nails, tacks, buttons, keys, combs, cigarettes, matches (C.R., no. 180), pebbles, wire lathe mesh, string, coloured glass, agates, marbles (C.R., no. 1036).
  12. In his biography of Pollock, Bryan Robertson stated that there were ‘several jagged pieces of a broken Coca-Cola bottle stuck into the point at the right-hand base of the picture’ (Jackson Pollock, London: Thames and Hudson; New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1960, p.95).
  13. Lee Krasner, in an interview with B.H. Friedman, (Jackson Pollock: Black and White, New York: Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, 1969 (exhibition catalogue), pp.7-10, p.10.
  14. Frank O’Hara, Jackson Pollock, New York: Braziller, 1959, p.26.
  15. Lee Krasner Pollock recalled seeing this piece of wood near the painting covered with wet blue paint (C.R., vol. 2, p.193).
  16. In his biography of Pollock, Bryan Robertson attributes both connotations to the poles, and also suggests a cruciform and an anchor (see Robertson, op. cit., pp.23-4).
  17. In December 1973 Thomas Hart Benton wrote to Francis Valentine O’Connor: ‘I think it highly improbable that anybody but Jack would have thought of them (the poles) — anybody, I mean who had not studied composition with me. (Note articles in The Arts, 1926-27). In one of these, poles are shown in a diagram and explained in the text. In an actual composition I always erased the poles or most times simply imagined them. I never made them parts of a composition as did Jack in the “Blue Poles” painting. But it was probably some vague memory of my theory demonstrations that caused him to “inject” the poles in that painting (C.R., vol. 2, p.196. See also Stephen Polcari, ‘Jackson Pollock and Thomas Hart Benton’, Arts Magazine, vol. 53, no. 7, March 1979, pp.120-4.)
  18. In correspondence with the Gallery of 1 September 1987 Francis Valentine O’Connor stated that he had ‘recently examined Number 2, 1949 for the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, and found many examples of Pollock editing lines and dots in the painting to make areas “work”’.

    In the close examination of several classic ‘drip’ paintings, Matthew Rohn has also discovered evidence of thoughtful adjustments to apparently spontaneous gestures: ‘For example, one often encounters a cometlike formation in Pollock’s abstractions that tapers from a large bulbous head to a protruding tail with a stream of wispy dots and filaments behind it. The related dynamics of the whole constellation compel us to read it as a single stroke of paint produced when Pollock hit the canvas with a paint-laden stick, creating the head, projected his movement across the canvas, unfolding the body of the tail, and swept the almost empty stick back into the can, releaseing a scattering of filaments and dots. But such a scenario is by no means the correct one. Sometimes careful inspection of the paintings show a slightly different tonal value between the head of the comet and the tail, which means that the two elements had to have been produced on separate occasions’ (Matthew L. Rohn, Visual Dynamics in Jackson Pollock’s Abstractions, Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1987.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed,not dated Purchased 1992 NGA 1992.423.A-X Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.730 © Mark Rothko. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Multiform 1948 is one of a small group of untitled works collectively known as 'Multiforms' that Rothko painted during the years 1947-49 immediately preceding the mature works for which he is best known. In these transitional paintings Rothko abandoned the Surrealist-inspired imagery of his earlier works to develop a fully abstract vocabulary. Writing in 1947, he described his paintings as 'dramas', but added that the use by contemporary artists of figurative subject-matter to convey emotions and experiences was no longer practicable; 'with us the disguise must be complete', he asserted. 'The familiar identity of things has to be pulverised in order to destroy the finite associations with which our society increasingly enshrouds every aspect of our environment'.1

The title 'Multiform' does not seem to have been used before Rothko's death. It appears for the first time in the catalogue for the Rothko exhibition at the 1970 Venice Biennale. It is thought by the staff of the Marlborough Gallery, who prepared this catalogue, that Rothko used the term 'Multiform' generically when referring to his transitional paintings of 1948-49.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.248.

  1. Mark Rothko, 'The Romantics Were Prompted'. Possibilities no. 1, Winter 1947-48, p.84.
  2. The authors are grateful to Bonnie Clearwater, Curator of the Rothko Foundation, for providing this information. (Bonnie Clearwater, correspondence with the Australian National Gallery, 12 July 1984).
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1978 NGA 1978.976 © Bruce Nauman. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Window or wall sign was made in the winter of 1966-67 at a time when Nauman had established his studio in a disused grocery shop in San Francisco. The work was designed for the large shop window at the front of the studio, rather like the neon advertising signs that hung in the shop fronts nearby, although Nauman's neon carried a rather different message: 'The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths'.1

Referring to the conception of Window or wall sign, Nauman stated, 'I had the idea that I could make art that would kind of disappear-an art that was supposed to not quite look like art. In that case, you wouldn't really notice it until you paid attention. Then, when you read it, you would have to think about it.'2

The most difficult thing about the whole piece for me was the statement. It was a kind of test-like when you say something out loud to see if you believe it. Once written down, I could see that the statement, 'The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths was on the one hand a totally silly idea and yet, on the other hand, I believed it. It's true and it's not true at the same time. It depends on how you interpret it and how seriously you take yourself For me it's still a very strong thought.3

The success of Nauman's first New York exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery in January-February 1968 prompted Castelli to suggest that works by the artist using fluorescent tubing be issued in small editions and Nauman authorised Window or wall sign to be produced in an edition of three. The two other versions are in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, and in the collection of the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basle.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.372.

  1. Nauman at this time also produced a transparent mylar window shade imprinted 'The true artist is an amazing luminous fountain', which also appeared behind the plate- glass window of the shop front.
  2. Brenda Richardson, Bruce Nauman: Neons, Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1982 (exhibition catalogue), p.20.
  3. ibid., p.20.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated, incised on reverse l.r., "Nakian/ 49" Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.2030 © Atelier Nakian View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

By the mid-1930s Nakian had established a considerable reputation for his naturalistic portrait sculptures. This period culminated in an over-life-size sculpture of the baseball hero Babe Ruth (George Herman Ruth) in 1934, and an exhibition of portrait heads of President Roosevelt and members of his cabinet, which was held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, in 1935. Shortly after this, however, Nakian abruptly changed course. He virtually stopped exhibiting, except in isolated group shows, and concentrated on drawing as a means of revising his ideas on sculpture.

By 1935 he had established a close friendship with Arshile Gorky (1904-48), and through him met Willem de Kooning (b. 1904) in 1937. It would seem to have been the example of these artists that precipitated the crisis in Nakian's work. by the late 1940s he was working on a series of small terracotta sculptures, both in three-dimensional form and as drawings incised into the surface of terracotta slabs. He called the slabs 'stone drawings' or 'Fragonards' because of their pastoral subject-matter and the delicacy of the incised patterns.

As evident in the three terracotta sculptures in the Australian National Gallery, these works are sliced, modelled and incised with a brisk, improvisational freedom that aligns them with the painting style of Abstract Expressionism. Yet Nakian remained committed to traditional subjects, the stories of classical mythology, especially Europa, and in this respect his work harks back to that of his teacher, Paul Manship (1885-1966), who had elevated Europa and the bull to a central place in his work in the 1920s. 'Myths are good', Nakian said, 'because they give you form and a grand story. I don't want only form; I want philosophy, love'.1

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.252.

  1. 'Sculpture: Demigods from Stamford', Time, 30 June 1967, p.50.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | not signed, not dated Gift of Peggy and David Rockefeller through AFANG 1989 NGA 1989.1251 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Beatrice 1964 is one of the 'Apollo' series of paintings that Natkin began in 1961 and continued (somewhat fitfully) through the 1960s and into the early 1970s. In Beatrice, as in many of the series, vertical bands of colour assume an almost architectural aspect giving the appearance of doorways and windows. Bruce Glaser has pointed out that the title for the series derives in part from a sonnet by Rainer Maria Rilke titled 'Archaic Torso of Apollo' that attracted Natkin while he was working on the first works in the series. Glaser also noted that as the god of light and music, Apollo lent his name to many theatres and picture palaces which the impressionable young Natkin attended with his family.1 The 'Apollo' series draws on those memories of the curtained stage and decorative façades and ornamental architecture of the theatres.

Natkin has admitted other influences on the colour and composition of the 'Apollo' paintings. In an interview with Peter Fuller he stated that he worked with verticals in his compositions to avoid the suggestion of landscapes:

I was already stealing so much from Impressionism. I did not want to put in their traditional imagery, too. It was too embarrassing … The horizon line is probably the most important line I a landscape; so at least by turning it the other way I could hide the reference, and in that way I hoped something more personal might come to be seen.2

In a letter to the Gallery Natkin stated that:

The painting Beatrice is very much inspired by many of those paintings by Bonnard of 'A Woman in the Bathtub'. In the late 50s and throughout the 60s and 70s, the romantic and sensual use of paint and color of Bonnard's work … inspired my art … I used a format of mostly vertical structures. I was so painfully working on the nature of the painting's light, color and skin … [that] I wanted as few problems as possible regarding the geography (composition) of the paintings.3

Of the title Beatrice — the Beatrice of Dante's Divine Comedy — Natkin recalled that it 'refers to a nostalgic remembrance of a color reproduction in my high school Latin book. I don't remember the artist. It was probably some God-awful Pre-Raphaelite artist whose painting was probably badly reproduced'.4

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.346.

  1. Bruce Glasser, 'Robert Natkin and the Muses: Recent Paintings and Classical History', in Robert Natkin: New Paintings, New York: André Emmerich Gallery, 1978 (exhibition catalogue).
  2. Peter Fuller, 'Interview with Robert Natkin', in Robert Natkin, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1981, p.304.
  3. Robert Natkin, correspondence with the Gallery, 22 November 1991.
  4. ibid.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated lower surface, pencil, "L.S., Aug 28/66" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.3047 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Samaras began making his boxes in 1960, but did not start to number them until 1962. Typically his boxes are decorated with rich combinations of pattern and texture created from pins, coloured yarns, string, pebbles, mirrors, photographs, and knives and forks — like reliquaries of the commonplace.

The majority of the boxes made in 1966 are covered with swirls of coloured woollen yarn, something Samaras first employed in 1963.1 This group of boxes tend not to serve as containers but are blocked off with accordion pleating or made of solid components. Two boxes of 1966, Box no. 50 (in the collection of the artist) and the Australian National Gallery's Box no. 54, are pierced with holes and are visibly empty. The biomorphic shape of the holes has apparently been determined by the loops of woollen yarn that decorate the surface and contrast with the austere, white-painted interior. Emptied of the emotionally charged combination of materials of earlier boxes, Box no. 54 is reliant on purely sculptural qualities.

Box no. 54 was completed by 28 August 1966 in preparation for an exhibition at Pace Gallery, New York, held in October that year. A drawing for the box exists, dated 1 April. By this stage Samaras had virtually ceased to use found containers or make his own, and Box no. 54 was fabricated to the artist's requirements. The completed work differs from the drawing in its overall simplification. The number of cut-outs piercing the box form has been reduced and the holes themselves enlarged, both to facilitate construction and to challenge the form of the box. The hinged top and bottom indicated in the drawing have been eliminated as redundant to emphasize the sculptural aspect of the finished work.

In an interview in 1966 Samaras spoke of his interest in 'minimal' trends in contemporary art2 and Box no. 68 seems to reflect this shift. Certainly his boxes of 1968 favour strong geometric shapes. They are hard and sharp-edged, made of wood or cardboard and painted in flat colours. The matrix of dots that cover Box no. 68 underscores the flatness of the planes and, as pointed out by Dr Joan C. Siegfried, may well be a refinement of the pins that adorned previous works.3

The Australian National Gallery collection also includes a number of later works by Samaras: Box no. 85 1973, Reconstruction no. 74 1979, Winged man with head on knee 1980, and Winged woman with three arms

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.367.

  1. Diary note by Lucas Samaras in Kim Levin, Lucas Samaras, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1975, p.43: 'May 24 (1963) I have recently begun using coloured wool string. I sometimes let my umbrella scratch along the sidewalk when I walk, I love string; I love line, I love making incisions'.
  2. Alan Solomon, 'An Interview with Lucas Samaras', Artforum, vol. 5, no. 2, October 1966, pp.39-44, p.43.
  3. Dr Joan C. Siegfried, 'On Peering into Lucas Samaras' Boxes', in Lucas Samaras Boxes, Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1971 (exhibition catalogue), n.p.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.3048 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Samaras began making his boxes in 1960, but did not start to number them until 1962. Typically his boxes are decorated with rich combinations of pattern and texture created from pins, coloured yarns, string, pebbles, mirrors, photographs, and knives and forks — like reliquaries of the commonplace.

The majority of the boxes made in 1966 are covered with swirls of coloured woollen yarn, something Samaras first employed in 1963.1 This group of boxes tend not to serve as containers but are blocked off with accordion pleating or made of solid components. Two boxes of 1966, Box no. 50 (in the collection of the artist) and the Australian National Gallery's Box no. 54, are pierced with holes and are visibly empty. The biomorphic shape of the holes has apparently been determined by the loops of woollen yarn that decorate the surface and contrast with the austere, white-painted interior. Emptied of the emotionally charged combination of materials of earlier boxes, Box no. 54 is reliant on purely sculptural qualities.

Box no. 54 was completed by 28 August 1966 in preparation for an exhibition at Pace Gallery, New York, held in October that year. A drawing for the box exists, dated 1 April. By this stage Samaras had virtually ceased to use found containers or make his own, and Box no. 54 was fabricated to the artist's requirements. The completed work differs from the drawing in its overall simplification. The number of cut-outs piercing the box form has been reduced and the holes themselves enlarged, both to facilitate construction and to challenge the form of the box. The hinged top and bottom indicated in the drawing have been eliminated as redundant to emphasize the sculptural aspect of the finished work.

In an interview in 1966 Samaras spoke of his interest in 'minimal' trends in contemporary art2 and Box no. 68 seems to reflect this shift. Certainly his boxes of 1968 favour strong geometric shapes. They are hard and sharp-edged, made of wood or cardboard and painted in flat colours. The matrix of dots that cover Box no. 68 underscores the flatness of the planes and, as pointed out by Dr Joan C. Siegfried, may well be a refinement of the pins that adorned previous works.3

The Australian National Gallery collection also includes a number of later works by Samaras: Box no. 85 1973, Reconstruction no. 74 1979, Winged man with head on knee 1980, and Winged woman with three arms

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.367.

  1. Diary note by Lucas Samaras in Kim Levin, Lucas Samaras, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1975, p.43: 'May 24 (1963) I have recently begun using coloured wool string. I sometimes let my umbrella scratch along the sidewalk when I walk, I love string; I love line, I love making incisions'.
  2. Alan Solomon, 'An Interview with Lucas Samaras', Artforum, vol. 5, no. 2, October 1966, pp.39-44, p.43.
  3. Dr Joan C. Siegfried, 'On Peering into Lucas Samaras' Boxes', in Lucas Samaras Boxes, Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1971 (exhibition catalogue), n.p.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.3049 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.4323 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Provenance signed and dated front, l.r., incised, stamped "Lucas / 81" Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.185 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Provenance signed and dated back, l.r., incised, stamped "Lucas / 81" Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.186 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Provenance titled and signed l.r. side near bolts, incised, "(illeg. signature)" and "3,500 A.D.", not dated Purchased 1978 NGA 1978.608 Provenance signed, on end, l.r., incised, "(illeg. signature)";
titled, on end, l.l., stamped, "2,500 A.D.", not dated Purchased 1978 NGA 1978.609 Provenance signed and dated verso u.c., in black. "Robert Motherwell / 1958"", inscribed verso u.r. in black, "TOP/ [up arrow] / Note - Painted in Bocour / "Magna" Plastic Paint. / Do not clean with/ turpentine or gasoline or petrol." Purchased with the assistance of the American Friends of the Australian National Gallery and the National Gallery Foundation 1994 NGA 1994.1 © Robert Motherwell, Licensed by VAGA, New York and VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Motherwell's Elegies to the Spanish Republic is a collective title that describes a body of work that occupied the artist for over forty years from the late 1940s to his death in 1991. Numbering just over one hundred and seventy works, of which the National Gallery of Australia's Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958 is indicative, the Elegies mark one of Motherwell's major contributions to twentieth-century art.

The recurring motif that defines the Elegies to the Spanish Republic first appeared in 1948 in a pen and ink drawing by Motherwell which was intended to illustrate a poem by writer and critic Harold Rosenberg in the second (unpublished) issue of the periodical Possibilities. Motherwell returned to the motif a year later in a small painting, At five in the afternoon 1949, the title indebted to a poem by the Spanish playright and poet Federico García Lorca (1898-1936). Lorca's poem, Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías [Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías] 1935, was dedicated to the legendary Spanish matador who suffered a mortal wound from a black bull named Granandino, 'at five in the afternoon'.

Lorca was killed a year later, in 1936, by the Fascists at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. At five in the afternoon and the later Elegies can be seen as Motherwell's attempt to find a 'visual equivalent' to Lorca's poetry. As H.H. Arnason commented, Lorca's poetry, with its universal themes of life and death, rekindled Motherwell's youthful idealism and passion for the cause of the Spanish Republic whose demise had a significant impact on Motherwell's generation.1

It was in the early 1950s that Motherwell began to use the generic title Elegy to the Spanish Republic to mark this significant body of his work. As the artist later explained:

Making an Elegy is like building a temple, an altar, a ritual place … Unlike the rest of my work, the Elegies are, for the most part, public statements. The Elegies reflect the internationalist in me, interested in the historical forces of the twentieth century, with strong feelings about the conflicting forces in it … The Elegies use a basic pictorial language, in which I seem to have hit on an 'archetypal' image. Even people who are actively hostile to abstract art are, on occasion, moved by them, but do not know 'why'. I think perhaps it is because the Elegies use an essential component of pictorial language…2

As Arnason observed:

Once the series had been named, the associations for the spectator, and undoubtedly for the artist himself, continued to grow: black as the symbol of death; white as the symbol of life; the monoliths as the architecture of a mausoleum, a chamber of death; the ovals as living forms, sometimes in process of being crushed by, sometimes liberating themselves from the enclosing rectangles.3

The illustration in which the Elegies had their genesis was black and white, a natural consequence of the fact that Possibilities was printed in black and white.4 Yet as Motherwell reworked the image and expanded the boundaries of its meaning, as Joan Banach has commented, the elegy motif became 'a vehicle for representing various rituals of mourning, charged by the unbounded potential and power he recognized in Federico García Lorca's poetic conception of pena negra or literally, "black grief" ',5 a colour that possessed an eloquent and talismanic power for Motherwell. In the National Gallery of Australia's Elegy to the Spanish Republic, the black forms march across the canvas, the traces of ochre underpainting evident around the central oval and single sky-blue horizon line, the only concessions to colour.

By the late 1950s Motherwell had completed over fifty Elegies. In the spring of 1958 he married the painter Helen Frankenthaler and during the summer vacationed in Spain and France, renting a villa in St Jean-de-Luz, France, near the Spanish border. It was the first time Motherwell had visited Spain, and was a period of frenetic activity during which he painted his Iberia series. Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958, which is uncharacteristically unnumbered, was probably painted in the second half of that year after the artist returned from Europe, perhaps with renewed commitment to the series.

Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958 is particularly interesting because it is the earliest of the Elegies in which the artist has used the acrylic paint, Magma, a brand invented by Leonard Bocour, which a number of major American artists experimented with in the late 1950s. Magma was known for its high concentration of pigment that meant it retained the intensity of colour even when thinned. In 1958 a new formula of Magma was introduced which brought the acrylic closer in consistency to that of oil paint, which may have encouraged Motherwell to try the medium. The National Gallery of Australia's Elegy to the Spanish Republic thus heralds a period of transition. During the early 1960s Motherwell shifted between oil and acrylic paint, however, and by the time he embarked on the Open series in 1968, he worked almost exclusively in acrylic paint for the rest of his career.

Motherwell kept Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958 in his studio until his death, along with a 'companion' painting Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958-60,6 in oil and charcoal on canvas, of similar dimensions to the National Gallery of Australia's work and likewise unnumbered. Both were very 'personal' paintings that were not exhibited or reproduced in photographs during the artist's lifetime. They indicate an important point in the artist's career. Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958-60 appears a summation of the series so far, whereas the National Gallery of Australia's Elegy to the Spanish Republic 1958, marks the beginning of a new phase, exploring the subtleties of a new medium within the established imagery of the Elegies.

Though abstract in appearance there is an essential message in each Elegy and in the series as a whole. As Motherwell's statement in the catalogue to the exhibition The New American Painting 1958-59 testifies:

I believe that painters' judgements of painting are first ethical, then aesthetic, the aesthetic judgements flowing from an ethical context …

Without ethical consciousness, a painter is only a decorator.

Without ethical consciousness, the audience is only sensual, one of aesthetes.7

Steven Tonkin

  1. H.H. Arnason, Robert Motherwell (2nd and revised edn), New York: Harry N. Abrams 1982, p.30
  2. Robert Motherwell, quoted in Jack D. Flam, 'With Robert Motherwell', in Robert Motherwell, New York: Abbeville Press,1983, p.22
  3. H.H. Arnason, Robert Motherwell, op.cit., p.30
  4. H.H, Arnason, 'Robert Motherwell: The years 1948 to 1965', Art International, vol.10 no.4, 20 April 1966, p.25
  5. See Joan Banach 'Annotated Catalogue' in Motherwell, Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies 1996, p.94; this observation was made with regard to Motherwell's early Elegy series painting Catalonia 1951, now in the collection of The Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri
  6. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; See Joan Banach, op.cit., pp.128-129, cat.29, illus.; Ann Temkin et al., Twentieth Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art 2000, p.99
  7. Robert Motherwell, quoted in The New American Painting, New York: Museum of Modern Art 1959, p.56
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works signed l.r., oil, "baj", not dated Purchased 1977 NGA 1978.166 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Military officers laden with medals and collectively known as 'Generals' were a central image in Baj's work in the 1960s. These personages first appeared in his work in 1959 and during 1960-61 he produced almost forty images of generals in saluting or spread-eagled positions.

The artist's attitude to these personifications of military power is clear enough from the demented appearance they assume in his work, and this impression is confirmed by the commentary he wrote in 1966 for a short anti-war film by Raffaele Andreassi: 'Wars, generals, decorations, wounds, amputations. As consolation the motherland gives you a few pretty coloured ribbons and maybe a medal that bears the inscription "smelted from the bronze of the enemy". All madness. Total madness.'1

Baj was one of the last artists that André Breton (1896-1966) aligned with Surrealism. In his first article on the arts, originally published in the magazine L'Oeil (July 1963) and subsequently in the third edition of Le Surréalisme et la Peinture (Paris, 1965), Breton illustrated the General in the Australian National Gallery to accompany his text:

A quite recent period in Baj's work has singled out from this brutish regiment several incarnations of the 'general in full dress uniform', a category summed up unforgettably by Benjamin Péret as being 'the grossly glided, perfectly poverty-stricken'. This fairground phenomenon, a mountain of importance just about capable of giving birth to an intellectual mouse, nevertheless constitutes a menacing survival, particularly from the moment when he sets himself up as being an expert on 'psychological warfare' and in this capacity feeds his tiny rodent on Clausewitz and Mao Tse Tung. Every time I walk through the arcade of the Palais Royal in Paris (where Charles Fourier used to come and sit, surveying its baubles with a knowledgeable eye) I pause to glance at the window displays gleaming with the crosses, medals, Grand Orders and other lesser postilions which continue to eke out an existence there. Had it not been for Baj, I would have been less attuned to the sight of the goldbeaters'-skins bulging out from behind all this paraphernalia.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.308.

  1. Reprinted in Herbert Lust, Enrico Baj Dada Impressionist, Turin: Giulio Bolaffi, 1973, p.20.
  2. André Breton, Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1965, p.400.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed, incised on base, "BARYE", not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.981 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1981.1242 Provenance signed and dated recto l.r., scratched into the paint, "Milton/ Avery 1944", inscribed verso u.c. to u.r., black paint ? "Artists Wife/ by Milton Avery/ 1944/ 32 x 48" Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.2029 © Milton Avery. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Milton Avery met his future wife, Sally Michel, an art student from Brooklyn, while spending the summer of 1924 painting and sketching in and around Gloucester, Massachusetts. In 1925 he moved to New York to be near her, and in 1926 they were married. Portrait of the artist's wife 1944 is based on an earlier brush and ink drawing, Sally seated, of 1936. The painting follows the pose of the drawing, though there are some changes: the eyes, downcast in the drawing, look outward in the painting and, more significantly, differences of light and shade have been eliminated in the painting, as have details of the sitter's clothing. That Avery was prepared to base a painted portrait of his wife on a drawing executed almost a decade earlier is indicative of the development of his work towards a painting style based on colour harmonies. Sally Avery described the painting as:

a particular favourite of mine. Milton painted it from a sketch he had made — being particularly intrigued by the color arrangements which were tender and striking at the same time. At that time we were very crowded in our Greenwich Village apartment. We decided to take some of our favourite paintings and put them in storage — thus removing the temptation to sell.1

The painting remained in storage until 1980, when it was bought by the Australian National Gallery.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.212.

  1. Sally M. Avery, correspondence with the Gallery, 26 September 1986.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1977 NGA 1978.386 © Dan Flavin. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

monument to V. Tatlin 1966-69 is one of a series of sculptures using standard-length fluorescent tubes that Flavin began planning in 1964. According to the artist, the series 'memorialises Vladimir Tatlin, the great revolutionary, who dreamed of art as science. It stands, a vibrantly aspiring order, in lieu of his last glider which never left the ground'.'1 Vladmir Tatlin (1885-1953), a leading artist of the Russian avant-garde, began to develop a flying machine in 1929 which he called 'Letatlin'. Flavin admired Tatlin's desire to unite art and technology 'away from the usual institutional confines which are supposed to identify art so especially apart from daily concerns'.2

The use of the term 'monument' in the title of this series is supposed to be ironic; the fragile fluorescent tubes are contrary to the bronze or stone traditionally used in monumental sculpture, and in order to emphasise this point Flavin has insisted that it be spelled in lowercase letters.

All of the Tatlin monuments use white fluorescent light tubes set adjacent to each other but are arranged in a variety of configurations, rising vertically, as in the Australian National Gallery's version, horizontally and also diagonally in others. Flavin may have executed as many as thirty sketches for different configurations of the series between 1964 and 1970.

Monument 7 for V Tatlin 1964-65 was the first of the monuments to be fabricated and was shown at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art in May 1965; others were assembled irregularly as the opportunity to exhibit them presented itself.3 The dating of each work refers jointly to the original diagram and subsequent realisation. Hence, in the case of the Gallery's example, a sketch of 1966 forms the basis for this configuration which was fabricated in 1969.

In all there are thirty-nine variations within the series of monuments to Tatlin, each in an edition of five. The works in the same edition as the Gallery's configuration are located as follows: The Menil Foundation, Houston (1/5); Gilman Paper Company, New York (2/5); Australian National Gallery, Canberra (3/5); the artist (4/5); and the artist (5/5)

The Gallery owns a second, later, fluorescent work by Flavin: Untitled (for Robert, with fond regards) 1977.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.358.

  1. Dan Flavin, 'The Artists Say', Art Voices, vol. IV, Summer 1965, p.72.
  2. Letter from Dan Flavin to Ronald Alley of 12 April 1972, quoted in Ronald Alley, The Tate Gallery's Collection of Modem Art Other than Works by British Artists, London: Tate Gallery in association with Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1981, p.219.
  3. Monuments conceived after 1964 were not given consecutive numbers.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated, incised right side l.r., "76 Gilhooly" Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.1265.A-B Provenance
  • with Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, the artist's dealer;

  • through whom bought by the Council of the Australian National Gallery, October 1978
signed and dated, incised underneath, "Gilhooly 78" Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.1264 Provenance
  • with Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, the artist's dealer;

  • through whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, October 1978
not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.4566 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • with Baudoin Lebon, Paris;

  • from whom bought by the National Gallery of Australia, August 1979
not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.4570 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • with Baudoin Lebon, Paris;

  • from whom bought by the National Gallery of Australia, August 1979
not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.4571 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • with Baudoin Lebon, Paris;

  • from whom bought by the National Gallery of Australia, August 1979
signed and dated verso c., ball point pen, "Stephen Buckley 1979" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.1655 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Untitled 1979 and Untitled 1980 are from a significant body of small paintings undertaken by the artist in the late 1970s. At the time the British art critic John McEwen outlined that:

Currently the smallness of his working space and desire to limit external reference, stylistic or otherwise, in order to make the painting as much of a self-contained object as possible, [have] led to a stark reduction in scale.

Whilst not individually as significant as a major work like Java 1980, when paired together Untitled 1979 and Untitled 1980 exhibit many of the features that drew critical attention to the artist's work in the 1970s. Buckley was widely recognised for his almost sculptural attitude to painting, especially his eclectic use of materials and techniques of construction.

Untitled 1980 is composed from a series of thin squares of composition board stapled together in a process of accretion. The viewer's understanding of the painting's fabrication and resultant structure is then confounded by the placement of a single floating decorative 'visual' panel. Untitled 1979, on the other hand, is deliberately deceptive from a frontal or traditional viewpoint. It is only by moving to the side of the painting, an unconventional viewing angle, that the depth of the work becomes evident. It is the painted edges that are crucial, defining and separating the planes as well as visually forcing the white frontal surfaces of the painting forward from the gallery wall.

The acquisition of the artist's two small untitled paintings in 1981 expanded the National Gallery's representation of internationally-recognised British painters, which includes among others, Buckley's contemporaries Howard Hodgkin, with The Buckleys at Brede 1974-76 and John Walker's Study for Luke's blue 1976.

Steven Tonkin

  1. John McEwen, 'Four British painters', Artforum, vol.17 no.4, December 1978, pp.50-55; the four painters discussed were John Hoyland, John Walker, Stephen Buckley and Howard Hodgkin.
  2. Tate, London
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.983 Provenance
  • the artists;

  • from whom bought through the Contemporary Art Society of Australia, Adelaide, by the Australian National Gallery, May 1980
not signed, not dated Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.1101 Provenance
  • Coventry Gallery, Sydney;

  • from whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, November 1978
not signed, not dated Purchased 1983 NGA 1984.469 © James Brown. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, September 1983
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works signed and dated, incised underneath, "Gilhooly 78" Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.1260 Provenance
  • with Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, the artist's dealer;

  • through whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, October 1978
not signed, not dated Purchased 1975 NGA 1975.152 © Robert Morris. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Morris first began to make sculptures using felt on a trip to Aspen, Colorado, in the summer of 1967. He went to Aspen to take up a studio offered to him by the John Power Institute. At the time he was working in fibreglass, but found the setting of the fibreglass difficult to control at Aspen because of the altitude. The studio was an old felt factory, with remnants of felt still lying. Morris began to make use of them: 'Felt was used for a number of reasons-if reasons are necessary, or believable-one reason being that whatever I could pre-conceive in the cutting would be altered and often obscured in the hanging (which was never pre-conceived).1 Several of the early felt pieces were cut in the same way as the piece in the Australian National Gallery:

especially in the early works, some had [the] same, or very similar cuts and were hung in different ways. Some had, for me anyway a number of possible hanging positions. But when things go out of the studio they tend to get finalised. I never insisted that a given work be hung from time to time in another position (which I would have done had I kept the work). Well, Brancusi was a/ways rearranging those bases, so there is a precedent.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.321.

  1. Robert Morris, correspondence with the Gallery, 19 May 1986.
  2. ibid.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | signed and dated, pencil, l. c., "T Kurahara Summer 1980" Gift of Dr K. David G. Edwards (Ret.), from the David and Margery Edwards New York Art Collection, 2005 NGA 2005.388.A-B signed and dated, pencil, l. c., "T Kurahara Summer 1980" Gift of Dr K. David G. Edwards (Ret.), from the David and Margery Edwards New York Art Collection, 2005 NGA 2005.389 Signed and editioned by blind-stamp on audio tape reel Joseph Beuys 45/1100" Gift of Dr K. David G. Edwards (Ret.), from the David and Margery Edwards New York Art Collection, 2005 NGA IRN 131285 © Joseph Beuys. Licensed by Bild-Kunst & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought at Robert Feldman Fine Art, New York, 1982, by Margery and David Edwards, March 1982, for their art collection;

  • given by Dr. K. David G. Edwards, Ret., M.D., B.S., (U. Syd), F.R.A.C.P., F.A.A.C.B.; Assoc. Prof. of Med., Weill Medical College of U. of Cornell, and Assoc. Prof. of Med., Rockefeller U.; Research Associate (Reader) Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (P. & S.), Assoc. Attending Physician Clinical Physiology and Renal Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA, through the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia to the National Gallery of Australia, August, 2005
Inscribed recto, l.l., pencil, "Joseph Beuys / Painting Version 80".. Gift of Dr K. David G. Edwards (Ret.), from the David and Margery Edwards New York Art Collection, 2005 NGA 2005.427 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought at Robert Feldman Fine Art, New York, 1982, by Margery and David Edwards, March 1982, for their art collection;

  • given by Dr. K. David G. Edwards, Ret., M.D., B.S., (U. Syd), F.R.A.C.P., F.A.A.C.B.; Assoc. Prof. of Med., Weill Medical College of U. of Cornell, and Assoc. Prof. of Med., Rockefeller U.; Research Associate (Reader) Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (P. & S.), Assoc. Attending Physician Clinical Physiology and Renal Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA, through the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia to the National Gallery of Australia, August, 2005
A Signed and dated verso, l.l.-l.r., black felt-tipped pen, "92/2 Choong-Sup Lim". B Signed and dated verso, l.l.-l.r., black felt-tipped pen, "92/2 Choong-Sup Lim". Gift of Dr K. David G. Edwards (Ret.), from the David and Margery Edwards New York Art Collection, 2005 NGA 2005.426.A-B Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought at Sandra Gehring Gallery, New York, 1993, by Margery and David Edwards, 25 June 1993, for their art collection;

  • given by Dr. K. David G. Edwards, Ret., M.D., B.S., (U. Syd), F.R.A.C.P., F.A.A.C.B.; Assoc. Prof. of Med., Weill Medical College of U. of Cornell, and Assoc. Prof. of Med., Rockefeller U.; Research Associate (Reader) Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (P. & S.), Assoc. Attending Physician Clinical Physiology and Renal Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA, through the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia to the National Gallery of Australia, August, 2005
signed verso, on stretcher, l.c., black felt-tipped pen "MAX GIMBLETT";
dated verso, on stretcher, u.l., black felt-tipped pen "1990". Gift of Dr K. David G. Edwards (Ret.), from the David and Margery Edwards New York Art Collection, 2005 NGA 2005.419 ©1990 Max Gimblett Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought by Margery and David Edwards, 13 December 1990, for their art collection;

  • given by Dr. K. David G. Edwards, Ret., M.D., B.S., (U. Syd), F.R.A.C.P., F.A.A.C.B.; Assoc. Prof. of Med., Weill Medical College of U. of Cornell, and Assoc. Prof. of Med., Rockefeller U.; Research Associate (Reader) Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (P. & S.), Assoc. Attending Physician Clinical Physiology and Renal Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA, through the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia to the National Gallery of Australia, August, 2005
signed and dated, l.r., pencil "Max Glimblett 1988/89/90" Gift of Dr K. David G. Edwards (Ret.), from the David and Margery Edwards New York Art Collection, 2005 NGA 2005.418 ©1988-90 Max Gimblett Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought by Margery and David Edwards, 13 December 1990, for their art collection;

  • given by Dr. K. David G. Edwards, Ret., M.D., B.S., (U. Syd), F.R.A.C.P., F.A.A.C.B.; Assoc. Prof. of Med., Weill Medical College of U. of Cornell, and Assoc. Prof. of Med., Rockefeller U.; Research Associate (Reader) Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (P. & S.), Assoc. Attending Physician Clinical Physiology and Renal Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA, through the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia to the National Gallery of Australia, August, 2005
not signed, not dated Gift of Professor and Mrs H.W. Arndt 1981 NGA 1981.1677 Provenance
  • Professor and Mrs H.W. Arndt, Canberra;

  • by whom donated to the Australian National Gallery, April 1981
signed l.r., oil, "CHARLOTTE ARDIZZONE" and verso u.l., oil stick, "CHARLOTTE/ ARDIZZONE", not dated, inscribed u.r., oil stick, "INTERIOR 1" Purchased 1972 NGA 1972.318 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Although not dated, the artist has confirmed that the painting was prompted by seeing a friend wrapping up presents for the Christmas of 1969, and it was ready for her first solo exhibition which opened at Drian Galleries, London, on 5 January 1970.1

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.384.

  1. Margaret Shaw, interview with the artist, London, August 1987.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | signed, dated and inscribed, verso u.l., synthetic polymer paint "JAMES DOOLIN 1967 / Los Angeles" Purchased 1969 NGA 1969.86 Provenance
  • Central Street Gallery, Sydney;

  • from whom bought by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, July 1969
not signed, not dated Purchased 1978 NGA 1978.974.A-C View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

During the 1960s, Andrews' major paintings shared a common theme - social gatherings, the party. Best known are The colony room 1962 (private collection, London), The deer park 1962 (Tate Gallery, London), All night long 1963-64 (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), and Good and bad at games 1964-68.

When asked in 1969 about his predilection for painting parties, Andrews replied: 'The reason, I think, is that, at parties, people are doing nothing except behaving themselves, so that you can get to see what they're really up to'.1 Of Good and bad at games, he wrote:

I was thinking about the variable effect a number of people (initially a group of ten) had on each other. the chosen conventional occasion was a party at which people noticeably behave in one way or another. This might range from, or change gradually from, stage fright to indifference or boredom, or someone's composure or agitation might remain almost unchanged. At any rate I was trying for a definition of how these fluctuations of self-consciousness showed.2

The attenuated figures in Good and bad at games were prompted by a photograph of a group of sculptures by Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) that appeared on an invitation card for a private viewing of the Giacometti retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1965. Television images also seem to have been important. In notes and sketches which Andrews made while he was working on Good and bad at games, he reminded himself, 'use elongated figures at bottom front of picture as on T.V. screen', and mentions 'this sidelong T.V. distorted look (makes you feel you are in amongst them)'. Another notation refers to 'a doughy, mutable, adaptable form. Man as the idea he has of himself; the shapes to suggest this and the way circumstances make him change this'.3 There was a correspondence in the artist's mind between the metaphoric clichés such as someone 'dissolving into tears', somebody 'feeling deflated', somebody 'feeling buoyant' or 'lightheaded', and the swelling and dwindling of the figures from canvas to canvas. The desire to record 'fluctuations of self-consciousness' also suggested a sequence, and initially Andrews thought that the theme might well run to seven or eight pictures.

The setting of the party, a photograph of a lit-up luxury hotel (the artist thought it might have been on the Costa Esmeralda in Spain), was screenprinted in brown ink onto each canvas by a commercial printer. The artist tore ragged strips of paper and stuck them in a row across the image, using varnish. He then removed the torn templates, leaving a halo-like effect of varnish around the shapes, and washed off the areas of silkscreen ink within the shapes. Within these ragged areas, exploiting their chance shapes, Andrews painted a gallery of characters that were his friends. He made a number of studies from life for the purpose. The party-goers include the artist Victor Willing (a little to the right of centre in each picture and consistently identified by a patterned shirt). To the left of Victor Willing in the first canvas is Willing's father-in-law, José Rego, followed (continuing left) by Paula Rego, Willing's wife, then by the painter Craigie Aitchison. At the left-hand edge June Keeley, the artist's future wife, is led in by Maria Rego, Willing's mother-in-law. Beside Victor Willing on the right is Andrews himself, followed by the diminutive figures of his aunt, his mother and the bust-like silhouette of his brother. Many of the characters can be traced in their transformations through the succeeding scenes; Victor Willing grows steadily throughout, his wife Paula and June Keeley remain constant, and the artist himself disappears altogether.

The title was chosen after the work was completed and alludes to a book popular at the time, Games People Play by Eric Berne, first published in London in 1966.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 pp.334.

  1. Philip Oakes, 'One-Man Party', The Sunday Times, 12 October 1969, p.58.
  2. Letter from Michael Andrews to Sir John Rothenstein, of 17 February 1973, quoted in John Rothenstein, Modern English Painters, vol. III, Hennell to Hockney, London and Sydney: Macdonald & Co., 1984, p.192.
  3. Twelve sheets with notations relating to Good and bad at games were acquired with the painting and are now in the Archive Collection, Australian National Gallery.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | inscribed l.r., synthetic polymer paint, "Out of distance/ Out of texture ARAKAWA 1978 at N.Y. City", inscribed verso u.c., fibre-tipped pen, "Out of distance/ out of texture ARAKAWA 1978 at N.Y. City." Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.2032 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

The cool and analytical appearance characteristic of Arakawa's mature work, which gives it the look of scientific research or a philosophical treatise, is not surprising given that he had studied medicine and mathematics at Tokyo University before making art. The cylindrical motif seen in the earlier painting Tubes reappears in

Out of distance / Out of texture 1978. Here the tubes are more elaborate, a tube within a tube made up of rotating planes. These overlie a diagrammatic floor plan of a small two-bedroom dwelling, and, in turn, are overlaid with radiating lines of perspective emanating from the tubes and an enigmatic series of words and phrases.

In this complex juxtaposition, language - both visual and verbal - becomes more important than the technical qualities of the painting. The machine-look stencilled labels that Arakawa fixes to objects, whether tubes or more complex creations such as the electromagnets seen here, remain an inadequate description, underscoring the gap between object and word. Words become objects and objects become words as Arakawa exposes the ambiguities in the relationship.

Arakawa denies the 'artist's hand' in his paintings. Expressionistic or emotive marks on the canvas are few, serving only as a foil to the deadpan, mechanical style. It seems as though in his works he is attempting to investigate, as objectively as any physicist, the mechanics of perception. Paintings such as Out of distance / Out of texture appear to be aimed at the intellect, but the resonance of the words themselves - perhaps because of their ultimate lack of precision - effects a poetic response. Arakawa's paintings are crafted to evoke a pure yet sensual beauty.

adapted from Michael Desmond, 'Arakawa Shusaku', in Michael Brand, ed., Traditions of Asian Art, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia 1995, p.88, by Christine Dixon

View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated. Gift of Virginia, Andrew and Alistair Spate 1992 NGA 1992.1367 Provenance
  • discovered by Oskar Spate (1911-2000) in his parents' London home, c.1922-23;

  • by whom given to his children Virginia, Andrew and Alastair Spate;

  • donated by them to the National Gallery of Australia, October 1992
not signed, not dated Purchased 1978 NGA 1978.979 © Frank Auerbach View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Primrose Hill is a small park just north of Regent's Park and London Zoo, and is within easy walking distance of the studio which Auerbach has occupied since 1954. He first painted Primrose Hill in 1960 and it has served for his landscape paintings ever since. Usually it is Primrose Hill itself which features in these paintings but in the Australian National Gallery's painting it is the view from the hill looking south-east, over the walking paths that criss-cross the park, towards London's skyline, punctuated by steeples, towers and chimneys. Auerbach may have begun work on this painting as early as 1961. A gouache in the Gallery's collection, showing a similar if slightly more easterly perspective (the large spire of the Church of St Mark is clearly visible on the right), is signed and dated 1961. Inscriptions in chalk on the reverse of the painting indicate successive reworkings early in 1962, paced out by the drying times between the accumulated layers of paint, 'not to be touched till saturday' is the first inscription. Saturday is then crossed out and the date 29 February appears. This date is succeeded by 'Thursday 12 April' (a telling inscription because 12 April fell on a Thursday in 1962 but in 1963, a date which has occasionally been ascribed to the work, it fell on a Friday), then by 29 April, 6 May, 13 May and finally by 21 May. Thus the painting was persistently reworked over almost three months, the successive transformations building up an almost relieve thickness of paint.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.314.

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated l.r., oil, "GB 10 VIII 83" Gift of the Deutsche Bank AG to mark the Australian Bicentenary 1988 NGA 1988.456 © 1983, Georg Baselitz Provenance
  • with Mary Boone Gallery, the artist's New York dealer;

  • through whom bought by Deutsche Bank AG;

  • by whom donated to the Australian National Gallery, April 1988
not signed, not dated Gift of Joseph Brown, Melbourne 1978 NGA 1978.29 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Although fully attributed to Jules Bastien-Lepage in the Joseph Brown catalogue Spring Exhibition 1977: Recent Acquisitions, there is a degree of uncertainty as to the identity of the artist responsible for Young peasant woman. The painting, which is unfinished and neither signed nor dated, is here cautiously attributed to Bastien-Lepage, but the possibility that it is by another hand cannot be discounted. A close circle of followers gathered around this influential painter in the 1880s, painting similar subjects in a similar style.

The positioning of the young woman in an expansive countryside is characteristic of Bastien-Lepage, as is the choice of a high vantage point which locates the figure against the landscape. The village in the background cannot be identified but is similar to the view which appears in a number of works painted by Bastien-Lepage on the outskirts of his home in Damvillers, especially the view in the background of Pas mèche [Nothing doing] 1881-82. As noted by Kenneth McConkey, however, 'the handling of the buildings in the background is rather smudgy and less-defined than one would expect from a Beaux-Arts trained painter, such as Bastien'. McConkey concedes that a number of features of the painting are consistent with Bastien-Lepage's mode of conception and believes the work sufficiently close to warrant consideration. Lacking signature or date - 'Something one would expect in a painting of this size, albeit unfinished' - he reserves judgement, however, until other works portraying a similar model appear.

The model depicted in Young peasant woman has features similar to Adèle Roberts, a cousin of the artist, who appears as the central figure in paintings Les foines [Haymakers] 1878, Saison d'Octobre: récolte des pommes de terre [October: Potato harvest] 1879, and in other works from 1878 to 1884. Adèle Roberts and the Young peasant woman share the same strong jawline, angular cheekbones, small mouth and dark hair pulled back from the face.

Regardless of the author, the painting appears to date from the early 1880s. The woman's clothes can be broadly dated to the 1880s, though rural costume tends to be conservative and less affected by changes in fashion, and therefore harder to date with precision. The canvas itself bears the rubber-stamped imprint 'Foinet', used to mark the canvases which this firm provided between 1880 and 1898. A date in the early 1880s seems most probable, being both the time of Bastien-Lepage's mature, most confident style, and also the period when his art inspired many imitators.

adapted from Michael Lloyd and Michael Desmond, European and American paintings and sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery, 1992, pp.54-55, by Christine Dixon

  1. By 1883 the situation had reached such proportions that a Salon critic noted in exasperation, 'Dans chaque salle, sur chaque mur, à chaque pas - Bastien-Lepage! partout, toujours et sans cesse … Tout le monde peint tellement aujourd'hui comme M. Bastien-Lepage que M. Bastien-Lepage a l'air de peindre comme tout le monde'. [In each room, on each wall, everywhere you turn - Bastien-Lepage! everywhere, constantly and incessantly. The whole world paints so much today like Mr Bastien-Lepage that Mr Bastien-Lepage seems to paint like the whole world.] 'Le Salon, 1', Ville de Paris, 1 May 1883, cited in William S. Feldman, 'Jules Bastien-Lepage: A New Perspective', Art Bulletin of Victoria no. 20, 1980, pp.2-9, cf. p.9, n.22
  2. held National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
  3. correspondence with the National Gallery of Australia, 1 December 1986
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed and dated verso c.r., synthetic polymer paint, "Natvar Bhavsar/ Dec.70" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.3045 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Of the paintings, SHA-DHA and E-JNA, which were painted in November and December 1970 respectively, the artist has written:

The titles of these paintings are non-referential and do not represent any particular meaning for these works. I choose titles for my paintings largely from ancient Sanskrit terminology. They often refer to either musical compositions, past events, places of historical reference, etc., even nature. These two particular titles are only selected for their sound. My paintings are totally abstract, and I prefer not to have the viewer led by the suggestion of the title. The paintings were painted with dry pigments with many, many layers on canvas saturated with acrylic medium.1

Bhavsar's technique consists of brushing dry pigment through a screen onto a horizontal canvas previously coated with an acrylic binder which holds the pigment. The process of sifting the pigment may be repeated as many as eighty times for a single work, using different pigments and adjusting the distance between screen and canvas to vary the density of colour. Bhavsar credits the origin of this distinctive technique to his Indian background.

In India, there is an old tradition that for each holiday, people create color decorations. You take color into a pouch and pour it through a screen onto the ground. When I was only twenty, the secretary of a college student group asked me if I would participate in a school celebration by creating a decoration in the hall on the floor. I did a very large painting, 80' long and 10' to 15' wide. So I have been working in that method since my childhood.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.406.

  1. Natvar Bhavsar, correspondence with the Gallery, 23 September 1987.
  2. Cynthia Goodman, 'Interview with Natvar Bhavsar', Arts Magazine, vol.55, no. 6, February 1977, p.13.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | signed with monogram l.l., oil, "B" Gift of S. H. Ervin 1962 NGA 1962.62 Reproduced courtesy of Bridgeman Art Library Provenance
  • collection S. H. Ervin;

  • by whom donated to the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, August 1962 (title transferred to the Australian National Gallery, 18 July 1990)
not signed, not dated Gift of Janette Lloyd 1997 NGA 1997.177 Provenance
  • with the artist at his death in Berlin in 1972;

  • by descent to the artist's daughter, Mo Wedd-Buchholz, Canberra;

  • by whom given to Michael Lloyd (1950-1996), in 1994;

  • by inheritance to his widow, Janette Lloyd;

  • by whom given to the National Gallery of Australia, June 1997
signed and dated verso l.r., carved, "EB 20" Purchased 1988 NGA 1988.2239 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

This relief was originally carved as a woodblock for making prints. However, in Buchholz's first exhibition at Galerie Der Sturm in December 1921 it was exhibited as one of sixteen Holzbilder (painted wood reliefs).1 Carved into the back of Orbits of the planets is the inscription 'I. Platte' (literally 'plate or plane' and an abbreviation of Holzplatte, wood relief), indicating that this was the artist's first wood relief, the medium that Buchholz favoured for the rest of his career. It seems that in the process of carving Orbits of the planets, or shortly after completing it in 1920, the artist came to regard it as a work of art in its own right, rather than a woodblock for making prints, and to accentuate its new status he rebated and painted the edges. Its importance to the artist, as the first relief, may also be reflected in the relatively high price of 600 Reichsmark which he placed on the work at the Der Sturm exhibition.2

Many of the abstract elements that appear in Orbits of the planets - the dynamic zig-zag, the broken circle - were evolved in a series of splendid large paintings that Buchholz executed between 1918 and 1920. These clearly reflect his early association with Expressionism and, at the same time, the origin of his geometric forms in the intuitive, spontaneous, approach of Expressionism.

In 1968 Orbits of the planets was used as the basis for a woodcut included in a portfolio of six prints commissioned by Eau de Cologne Verlag, and produced in an edition of twenty-eight. The role played by the original relief in the production of these prints has not been established with certainty but it would appear that the process was as follows: a print was taken from the original relief, which then served as the blueprint for the carving of a new block from which the prints for the portfolio were taken. Attempts by the artist's heirs to retrieve this woodblock from the printers have not been successful. This process would explain why the prints in the portfolio so closely follow the design of the relief despite not being reversed in relation to the original relief.3

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.136.

  1. 'Erich Buchholz: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Holzbilder', Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin, 1-31 December 1921.
  2. See copy of Galerie Der Sturm catalogue annotated with prices in the artist's estate. Mo Wedd-Buchholz, Canberra. The prices for other reliefs ranged between 300 and 400 Reichsmark.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed monogram and dated, welded metal, "AC 70" Purchased 1972 NGA 1972.41 © Alexander Calder. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Calder's static works, like La bobine 1970, are known as 'stabiles' to distinguish them from the 'mobiles', works with movable elements. The term was invented for them by Jean Arp (1887-1966) in 1932 soon after the first exhibition of mobiles, when he asked Calder: '"Well, what were those things you did last year — stabiles?" Whereupon I [Calder] seized the term and applied it first of all to all the things previously shown at [Galerie] Percier [Paris 1931] and later to the large stabile objects.'1

By the late 1950s Calder's stabiles had increased in size to the extent that it was no longer possible to make them himself. He turned to a number of metal shops near his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, to fabricate his work. In 1962 he also began to use the Etablissements Biémont, in Tours, located near his studio at Saché, France. La bobine was fabricated there in 1970. Calder described the process in 1969 at the time of his retrospective exhibition at Foundation Maeght, St Paul-de-Vence:

I make a little maquette of sheet aluminium, about 50 cm high. With that I'm free to add a piece, or to make a cutout. As soon as I'm satisfied with the result I take the maquette to my Biémont friends … and they enlarge the maquette as much as I want. When the enlargement is finished, provisionally, I go to add the ribs and the gussets, or other things which I hadn't thought of. After that they work out my ideas on the bracing. And that does it.2

The French title La bobine translates into English as spool or bobbin, but may also refer to a grotesque figure.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.340.

  1. Jean Lipman, Calder's Universe, New York: Viking Press, 1976, p.305.
  2. ibid., pp.305-6.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed, incised on urn, "A Carrier" Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1810 Provenance
  • Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, 1985;

  • from whom bought by the Australia National Gallery, June 1986
not signed, not dated Purchased 1977 NGA 1978.1231 © César. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Through is search for materials to use in his welded sculptures, César was already familiar with scrap-metal yards when, in April 1960, he saw a large new American hydraulic press used for crushing scrap metal (especially car bodies) at work I a yard at Gennevilliers on the outskirts of Paris. Pierre Restany, critic and good friend of the artist, was dragged along to watch the press in action and wrote soon afterwards:

I saw César on the look-out, watching the cranes working, measuring the loads, waiting for the result of each operation. We admired the graded bales, weighing about a ton, produced by compressing a van, a batch of bicycles or a huge battery of coal ovens … Some of these bales were more beautiful than others; he chose them because he felt they were so and these became his own.'1

César selected three bales of crushed cars, including the work now in the Australian National Gallery, and exhibited them a few weeks later at the Salon de Mai, where they were perceived as an anti-art gesture and caused quite a scandal.

In later compressions César exercised greater control over the works, specifying the colour and type of components to be loaded into the press. As well as car bodies, he has also used motor-bikes, cutlery, plexiglass, jewellery and cardboard in these compressions.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.264.

  1. Pierre Restany, 'Un nouveau réalism en sculpture: César', Cimaise, no. 55, October 1961, pp.44-51, p.46: 'J'ai vu César à l'affût, surveillant le travail des grues, dosant les charges, guettant le résultat de chaque operation. J'ai admiré avec lui ces balles calibrées d'un poids avoisinant la tonne et qui sont le produit de la compression d'une camionnette, d'un lot de cycles ou d'une gigantesque batterie de cuisinières à charbon … Certaines de ces balles etaient encore plus belles que les autres: Il les a choisies parce qu'il les sentait comme telles, et elles sont devenues siennes'.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.775 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through Sperone Westwater Fischer, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, February 1984
not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.777 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through Sperone Westwater Fischer, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, February 1984
not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.776 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through Sperone Westwater Fischer, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, February 1984
not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.778 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through Sperone Westwater Fischer, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, February 1984
Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.2452 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through Sperone Westwater Fischer, New York, by the National Gallery of Australia, December 1986
not signed, not dated Purchased with the assistance of Philip Bacon AM 2000 NGA 2000.33 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The rape of the Sabine women is a quintessentially Baroque work, with complex figure groups, intense dramatic action and powerful lighting effects. It tells the legend of how Rome, in its early days, had few women, and therefore no future. Scorned when they asked for brides from their neighbours, the Romans invited the Sabines to a great games event. As part of a preconceived plan, the young Roman men attacked their guests and carried away the young women. Sheldon Grossman described The rape of the Sabine women as:

one of Luca Giordano's most successful compositions [which] represents a highly refined and fully developed example of the high baroque style. The densely massed, closely spaced figural groups are caught in complex poses at a moment of intense action. There is dramatic movement in and out of the painting, from both sides, as well as diagonally into depth and across the surface. A powerful, rapid centrifugal force is set into motion at the hub of the composition, the central group of the Roman and the Sabine which, modeled on baroque or proto-baroque sculptural groups, forms a striking corkscrew pattern.

Giordano painted The rape of the Sabine women in about 1672-74, as one of four large works on the theme of violence and justice. The paintings were first recorded in 1751 in the Palazzo Vecchia (now Palazzo Romanelli) in Vicenza. Two of the other paintings, The massacre of the innocents and Christ's expulsion of the merchants from the temple, are in the Church of Sant'Aponal, Venice, and the third, The judgment of Solomon, was acquired by the Thyssen Museum, Madrid.

The four works were noted by the writer Charles-Nicolas Cochin in his Voyage d'Italie, published in 1758, as being among the most beautiful and vigorous works of Giordano. The Abbé de Saint-Non saw them in 1761 and described them as 'without fear of contradiction, the most beautiful works that Giordano painted'. Fragonard, who accompanied Saint-Non, made a fine drawing of The rape of the Sabine women.

adapted from Brian Kennedy, 'A quintessential Baroque painting: Luca Giordano's The Rape of the Sabines,' artonview no.22 Winter 2000 pp.9-12, by Christine Dixon

  1. in Painting in Naples 1606-1705: Caravaggio to Giordano, National Gallery, Washington 1983, supplement to the catalogue
  2. now held in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1054 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

The basis of the attribution of this polychrome sculpture to Cosmè Tura (1430?–1495) is the link to the only two known Pietàs by the artist — the Pietà 1472? (Museo Correr, Venice) and the Lamentation from the Roverella altarpiece (Louvre, Paris). According to Ruhmer, '… there is nothing in Emilian sculpture of the second half of the Quattrocento that can be compared with [this Pietà] — only Tura's paintings.' Furthermore, Ruhmer argues, in comparing this work with the Venice Pietà or the Christ with the somewhat later Dead Christ supported by two angels1 or even the Madonna with Virgin of the Annunciation from the S. Maria della Consolazione altarpiece2 he recognises Tura's method of moulding forms.

[However] the decisive factor is that this sculpture possesses Tura's particular style of that time — suitably translated into sculpture. The composition is of striking originality — there are no overlappings or interweavings, the plastic limbs glide in delicate turns and bends, as if they were afraid of being touched. Even the hands, raised in mourning, of the Mother with the mighty head of a Sibyl, pause before they are folded. The compactness of the group is achieved, not by means of connecting links, but by means of analogies. This method of composition so characteristic of Tura can nowhere be better appreciate than this little work, in which things become concretely perceptible which can only be hinted at in a painted picture owing to the fact that we view from one side only. In the carefree, very personal 'calligraphy' of the execution, the nearest approach to this work in terracotta [sic] is the pen drawing of a Doctor in the Church teaching,3 which Venturi brings into relationship with the half-lengths of Fathers of the Church in the dome at Belriguardo ….4

Whatever conclusions are drawn about the authorship of this sculpture, it is certainly an extraordinarily energetic, emotive and unusual work, one for which there are very few fifteenth-century comparisons. The sculpture, which has sustained substantial insect damage internally, would probably have been made for a niche within a small church or private chapel. The now bald Virgin may have originally worn a headpiece of human hair.

Lucina Ward

  1. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
  2. Colonna collection, Rome
  3. Given to Tura or possibly Giovanni Bellini, Musée Bonnat, Bayonne]
  4. Eberhard Ruhmer, Tura: Paintings and Drawings, complete edition, London: Phaidon 1958, pp.36-37
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased with the assistance of James O Fairfax AO and the Nerissa Johnson Bequest 2001. NGA 2001.19.A-C View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Cologne was a flourishing city in the years between 1400 and 1520, when its artists achieved great fame and distinction, especially for their elaborate multi-panelled altarpieces. Cologne School paintings are renowned for their magnificent colours, rich and indeed extravagant decoration, and brilliant narrative skills. Paintings of the post-1500 period, such as this triptych of The Virgin and Child with saints, show the complex artistic absorption of Renaissance classicism and humanism while holding tightly to the Gothic passion for detail and decoration. The influence of sculptural forms is evident, the static facial expressions and generous draperies harking back to a time of greater religious certainty. The triptych is a splendid example of the late flowering of the German Gothic altarpiece at the height of the Italian Renaissance.

The painting celebrates the important role of saints, not just as protectors and patrons, but also as mediators interceding with God on behalf of the devoted believer. The altarpiece depicts the Virgin and Child enthroned within an enclosed garden, flanked by angel musicians and six female martyr saints. To the left of the Virgin are St Agatha (feast day 5 February, attribute of breast and pincers), St Katherine (feast day 25 November, attributes of sword and broken wheel, receiving a ring from the Christ Child) and St Dorothy (feast day 6 February, attributes of chaplet and child with basket of flowers), and to the right of the Virgin, St Barbara (feast day 4 December, attribute of tower), St Cecilia (feast day 22 November, playing portative organ) and St Agnes (feast day 21 January, attribute of lamb). Above, angels carry the crown of the Virgin and support a canopy, and from a bust-length figure of God the Father the dove of the Holy Spirit descends towards the Christ Child. In the left background are small figures of a female saint (perhaps St Katherine) before the Virgin and Child, and a man fishing in a pond.

On the inner left shutter appear St Henry (feast day 15 July, attributes of crown, sceptre, imperial eagle and a church) and St Helena (feast day 18 August, attributes of crown, sceptre and cross), with a donor figure who wears armour, a mantle and a cross, and kneels at a prie-dieu decorated with a carving of The Fall of man. Next to him an angel supports a coat of arms surmounted by a crested helmet ─ the same arms recur on shields supported by lions on the arm-rests of the Virgin's throne. The inner right shutter depicts St Peter (feast day 29 June, attribute of key) and St Margaret (feast day 20 July, attribute of dragon). The extensive townscape in the background of the right half of the central panel and the right shutter is a view of Cologne, extending from the church tower of St Heribert in Köln-Deutz to that of St Gereon.

adapted from Mark L. Evans and Brian Kennedy, Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints, Cologne School c.1510-20, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia 2001, by Christine Dixon

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | inscribed verso l.r., oil, "1983/ Enzo Cucchi/ IL VENTO DEI GALLI/ NERI" Purchased 1983 NGA 1983.1523 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through Sperone Westwater Fischer Inc., New York, by the National Gallery of Australia, May 1983
signed monogram c., painted steel, "MARK", not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.1037 © Courtesy of the Artist and Spacetime CC. View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works Provenance
  • the artist;

  • from whom bought through the Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, August 1979
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works signed and dated l.r., synthetic polymer paint, "Jim Dine 1984" Gift of Sara Lee Corporation through the American Friends of the Australian National Gallery 1986 NGA 1986.1060 © Jim Dine Provenance
  • The Pace Gallery, New York;

  • donated by the Sara Lee Corporation through the American Friends of the Australian National Gallery, February 1986
signed and dated c.r., on documents, "Ma Dreling pinxit 1791" Purchased 2001 NGA 2001.183 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The portrait represents Joseph Merceron, born in Santo Domingo in 1749. He was first equerry in the militia on the island, becoming a lieutenant in 1761, and was finally made a captain in 1771. He returned to mainland France and became advocate for the Parliament in Paris in 1785. He was exiled to Troyes with the Parliament in 1787, and in 1788 he was relieved of his services. Drölling placed his seated figure at his work table, a luxurious Egyptian-style desk with sphinx, suggestive of the creations of Lignereux, Thomire, and Weisweiler. A vase decorated with bacchic scenes, an inkstand in more rocaille form, and a Histoire universelle, emphasise both the aesthetic and humanist personality of Merceron. The sobriety of the décor and a plain wall with fluted pilasters, enlivened with silky curtains as well as the sumptuous red-draped robe of a member of Parliament, confer a measure of solemnity to the painting.

With the attention given to certain details, the powder from the wig on the black robe, the trompe-l'oeil of the white sheet of paper precariously on the verge of sliding off the desk and the play of reflections, Drölling displays all his virtuosity, arriving at a representation on a monumental scale, in a manner like the Dutch artists that he so admired. He has produced here one of the most striking works in the domain of portraiture, which can be compared to another work of the period, the famous Lavoisier and his wife by Jacques-Louis David (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Finally, there is a particularity that can be explained by the events and context of the time. As one of the enemies of the Constitution on the eastern front, the Alsatian Drölling signed his name here in a most unhabitual manner, Dreling.

Jörg Zutter

View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1224 Provenance
  • the artist;

  • by descent to his aunt Marie-Etiennette Lutton (née Drouais d. 1819);

  • by descent to Anne Marie Goupil (née Lutton, d. 1849);

  • by descent to her husband Auguste Goupil (1794-1878);

  • by descent to Paul Goupil (1837-1919);

  • by descent to Alice Boullaire (née Goupil 1870-1956);

  • by descent to Jacques Boullaire (1893-1988);

  • sold at auction Hotel Drouot, 5 December 1983 (Mes. Libert, Castor, lot 28);

  • bought by Stair Sainty Fine Art, New York;

  • from whom bought by a private collector, New York 1984;

  • bought through Stair Sainty Fine Art, New York, by the Australian National Gallery, March 1986
signed and dated underneath no.VII, fibre-tipped pen, "Ger van Elk 79." Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.3925.A-G Provenance
  • the artist;

  • Nigel Greenwood Inc., London;

  • from whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, November 1980
Purchased 2003 NGA 2003.243 Provenance
  • Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna;

  • from whom bought by the National Gallery of Australia, August 2003
not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.744.A-B © Dan Flavin. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Other works from the edition are in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art (1/3) and the Estate of the artist (3/3).

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works signed and dated lower right, red oil, "Frankenthaler/ '57" Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.330 © Helen Frankenthaler View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Other generations is painted on unprimed canvas using diluted oil paint, the 'staining' technique that Frankenthaler adopted and developed after 1952 inspired bythe paintings of Jackson Pollock (1912-56). In a statement published in 1957, the year she painted Other generations, Frankenthaler described her approach:

I often start a canvas on the floor (stretched or unstretched) then work on it on the wall … from different sides I use sized and primed canvas or unsized cotton duck. My medium is a combination of turpentine, tube paint and enamel. I use brushes or a palette knife but I often shake or toss the paint off the brush-rather than apply it - or use my shoe or hand, controlling and changing the accidental with specific ideas.1

Other generations is one of a series of paintings from the autumn of 1957 that can bedistinguished from the dense Expressionist landscapes of 1955 and 1956 by their larger scale, open composition, and gestural freedom. Vestigial images seem to surface in a number of these later paintings, for example, Nude (collection of the artist) and Jacobs ladder (The Museum of Modern Art, New York, gift of Hyam N. Glickstein). In the Gallery's painting a female torso appears to materialise in the upper centre of the painting, and to a suggestion that this image may have prompted the title Other generations the artist replied:

Titles are a problem! I often fear that they are used too easily as a 'handle'; leading to an emphasis on the literary and/or subjective interpretation in lieu of an aesthetic one …: in the case of Other Generations I myself would tend to minimise yet recognise your 'association with a full female torso'. One might project or decipher some kind of figure-shape(s). More important, different carefully-placed, various-sized colourshapes seem to 'spawn' or regenerate each other on the canvas surface; coloured lines and forms, working in 'negative/positive relationship, that create space'.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.290.

  1. Helen Frankenthaler,'New Talent in the U.S.: Helen Frankenthaler, Art in America, vol. 45, no. 1, March 1957, pp.10-47, p.29.
  2. Helen Frankenthaler, correspondence with the Gallery, 29 November 1988.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1973 NGA 1973.573 Provenance
  • with Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York;

  • through whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, September 1973
incised beneath tablet section, "Last piece of '74/ D. Gilhooly 1974/ The 10 Commandments", incised r., "Aurora" Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.1262 Provenance
  • with Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, the artist's dealer;

  • through whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, October 1978
signed, incised underneath, "Gilhooly", not dated Purchased 1978 NGA 1979.1263.A-L Provenance
  • with Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, the artist's dealer;

  • through whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, October 1978
signed l.l., white oil, "Philip Guston", signed, dated and inscribed verso u.l., oil, "PHILIP GUSTON / "PIT" 1976" Purchased 1980 NGA 1981.3051 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works Provenance
  • estate of the artist;

  • from whom bought through David McKee Inc., New York, the artist's dealer, by the Australian National Gallery, September 1980
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1973 NGA 1974.395 Courtesy The Estate of Eva Hesse, Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zurich. View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Contingent is made of eight banner-like elements that hang from the ceiling. Each of these elements consists of a large rectangular stretch of latex-covered cheesecloth embedded at each end in a translucent field of fibreglass. The banners hang parallel to each other and at right angles to the wall.

Eva Hesse began work on Contingent in November 1968.1 'I started the piece before I got sick', she told Cindy Nemser in an interview early in 1970. 'It was latex rubber over a cloth called ripple cloth which resembles another version of cheesecloth. It has a more interesting weave (I guess I have some kind of interest in material) and reinforced fibreglass — clear.'2

In making the first experimental forms in this material Hesse was helped first by Douglas Johns, a partner in Aegis Reinforced Plastics, and after January 1969 by Martha Schieve, a student assistant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association, who offered her assistance to Hesse after seeing her sculpture Sans 11 exhibited at the Whitney Annual in December 1968.3

A number of test pieces were made using different kinds of cheesecloth and latex.4 Although the test pieces, were already under way in January 1969, Hesse took the unusual step, for her, of putting down her ideas for the work in drawings. She discussed one such drawing, dated 15 January 1969, with Cindy Nemser.5

It was one of the first ideas for the piece. This was the original idea and I changed it. It's the same piece but it's got all sorts of subtle variances. The pieces were much thinner and on either end they had wire mesh underneath the fiberglass and they were going to be on hardware that turns. There were going to be many in a row … I did a whole group [of drawings] at one time — in one or two weeks. I did ten sketches and I think I worked then all out or they are being worked out — every one of them.6

Five pencil drawings on yellow lined paper, now with the Eva Hesse Archives at the Allen Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, are clearly related to Contingent.7 One of these drawings, extensively annotated suggest that Hesse may once have thought of the sculpture as a single piece hung from the wall. Her annotations consider various possibilities: '(1) stand up on lower section holes to attach to wall not necessarily straight can come forward (2) center rubber clutched together with rubber wires or cord, string or mixed [?] nothing form however it becomes naturally (3) top held up or fallen over, either way'. There is also a large drawing, in pencil and ink wash, which shows the arrangement of Contingent close to its final form.8

Hesse was working on Contingent when, on 6 April 1969, she collapsed. She was admitted to New York Hospital and on 18 April was operated on for a brain tumour. She was back in hospital in August undergoing a second operation for the tumour. She emerged from hospital on 15 October. Although too weak to continue her part-time teaching at the School of Visual Arts, she was determined to finish Contingent in time for the exhibition 'Art in Process IV', which was to open at the Finch College Museum of Art in December, less than two months away.

A group of students from the School of Visual Arts came to help: 'Two of the girls sewed pieces of cheesecloth together, because they were too narrow, and the boys rubberized'.9 More regular assistance came from Bill Barrette and Jonathan Singer, with Douglas Johns providing technical advice such as the correct amount of ultraviolet inhibitor to be added to retard the deterioration of the latex. They made five or six of the pieces in October-November, which they added to the previously made pieces, bringing the total to eight. According to Bill Barrette, Hesse 'had planned to have the work consist of at least nine irregular sheets of rubberised cheesecloth and fibreglass, but there was only enough latex for eight'.10 There were already differences between the earlier and later pieces, but these individual differences pleased Hesse:

There are eight of them and they hang fairly regularly but there is great divergency from one to the next … They are geometric but they are not. They are the way they are and the way the material and fiberglass worked out. Maybe a little self-conscious — maybe that was not so good. They are all different sizes and heights, but I said 'Well, if it happens, it happens'. One was too long and I could have cut it off but I said, 'No'. So it will stand different.11

Hesse's health began deteriorating again. She spent eleven days in bed before finally installing Contingent at theFinch College Museum of Art. She managed to attend the opening of 'Art in Process IV' on 11 December 1969, and was delighted with Contingent: 'Anyway, did go to Finch', she noted in the manuscript describing the course of her disease and hospitalisation, 'and it was an opening and I was told how great my piece was. I enjoyed [myself] despite feeling lousy.'12 But she was back in hospital over Christmas and New Year. On 30 March 1970 she underwent her third operation for a brain tumour. In May 1970 an image of Contingent filled the cover of Artforum. But this sudden recognition was, for Hesse herself, brief. She died in New York Hospital on 29 May 1970, aged thirty-four.

For the exhibition of Contingent at the Finch College Museum of Art Hesse wrote the following catalogue statement:

Hanging.
Rubberised, loose, open cloth.
Fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
Began somewhere in November-December, 1968.
Worked.
Collapsed April 6, 1969. I have been very ill.
Statement.
Resuming work on piece,
have one complete from back then.
Statement, October 15, 1969, out of hospital, short stay this time,
third time.
Same day students and Douglas Johns began work.

MORATORIUM DAY
Piece is in many parts.
Each in itself is a complete statement,
together am not certain how it will be.
A fact. I cannot be certain yet.
Can be from illness, can be from honesty
irregular, edges, six to seven feet long.
textures coarse, rough, changing.
see through, non see through, consistent, inconsistent.
enclosed tightly by glass like encasement just hanging there.
then more, others, will they hang there in the same way?
try a continuous flowing one.
try some random closely spaced.
try some distant far spaced.
they are tight and formal but very ethereal, sensitive, fragile.
see through mostly
not painting, not sculpture, it's there though.
I remember I wanted to get to non art, non connotive,
non anthropomorphic, non geometric, non, nothing,
everything, but of another kind, vision, sort.
from a total other reference point, is it possible?
I have learned anything is possible, I know that.
that vision or concept will come through total risk, freedom, discipline.
I will do it.
today another step, on two sheets we put on the glass.
did the two differently
one was cast-poured over hard, irregular, thick plastic;
one with screening, crumpled, they will all be different.
both the rubber sheets and the fiberglass.
lengths and widths.
question how and why in putting it together?
can it be different each time? why not?
how to achieve by not achieving? how to make by not making?
it's all in that.
it's not the new, it is what is yet not known,
thought, seen, touched but really what is not.
and that is.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.390.

  1. The following chronology is indebted to the detailed treatment of Contingent given by Lucy Lippard in Eva Hesse, New York New York University Press, 1976, cf. pp.164-5. Also to Eva Hesse's own statement on Contingent which was included in the catalogue Art in Process IV, Finch College Museum of Art, Contemporary Wing, New York, 11 December 1969-26 January 1970 (reproduced in Lippard, p.165) and to Cindy Nemser's interview with Hesse which was taped in three sessions early in 1970. Extracts of this interview were published in Artforum (May 1970) and the Feminist Art Joumal (Winter 1973). The complete interview was published in Cindy Nemser, Art Talk: Conversation with Twelve Women Artists, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975, pp.201 -24, and it is from this publication of the interview that the following quotations are taken.
  2. Nemser, op. cit., p.220.
  3. See Lippard, op. cit., p.164.
  4. A single, long prototype with small fibreglass ends still survives as a separate 'piece'. This piece appeared at auction, Sotheby's, New York, Contemporary Art, part 1, 4 May 1987, lot 55. Unsold, it was returned to the collection of Donna Schneier, New York. Hesse also gave a long sheet of latex-covered cheesecloth to Nacmi Spector, a friend who worked at Fischbach Gallery, New York (cited Lippard, op. cit., p.164). This work is still in the collection of Stephen Antonakos and Naomi Spector, New York, and is reproduced in colour in Bill Barrette, Eva Hesse: Sculpture, New York: Timken Publishers, 1989, p.225.
  5. Drawing reproduced in Lippard, op. cit., p.166, fig. 212 (the present whereabouts of the drawing is unknown).
  6. Nemser, op. cit., p.221.
  7. Eva Hesse Archive, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. Acc. nos 77.52.2-77.52.7. The authors are grateful to Ms Kimberlie Gumz, Acting Curator of Collections and Registrar, Allen Art Museum, Oberlin College, for providing information and photographs of these drawings. Correspondence with the Gallery, 17 June 1986 and 23 November 1987.
  8. Lippard, op. cit., reproduced this drawing, p.167, fig. 211 (the present whereabouts of the drawing is unknown).
  9. Lippard, op. cit. p.164.
  10. Barrette, op. cit., p.226.
  11. Nemser, op. cit., pp.220-1.
  12. Quoted in Robert Pincus-Witten,'Eva Hesse: Post-Minimalism Into Sublime', Artforum, vol. 10, no. 3, November 1971, pp.32-44, p.42.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | signed, dated, and inscribed verso c.l., "david hockney/ 1998/ Los Angeles" Purchased with the assistance of Kerry Stokes, Carol and Tony Berg and the O'Reilly family 1999 NGA 1999.121.A-D © David Hockney View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Hockney photographed the Grand Canyon in 1982, commenting later that '… there is no question … that the thrill of standing on that rim of the Grand Canyon is spatial. It is the biggest space you can look out over that has an edge …'1 He took a series of photographs which, with their multiple vanishing points, he placed together in a collage. Grand Canyon with ledge, Arizona, 1982,2 one of several such collages, was a crucial step in the making of A Bigger Grand Canyon. In 1986 the artist revisited his preferred collaged view of the Grand Canyon to produce a large scale photo-collage of sixty photographs, reprinting them using the full negatives, then abutting them to produce Grand Canyon with ledge, Arizona. 1982, collage # 2, made May 1986.3 In June and July 1997 Hockney made two long car trips from Los Angeles to Santa Fe and back: 'I'd been contemplating some sort of big landscape of the West … I was experiencing a growing claustrophobia … [and] stronger, the longing for big spaces.'4

He painted two studies, one of nine canvases, the other of fifteen, and cleared his studio of everything else, except two related photo-collages. These formed the basis for A composition for A Bigger Grand Canyon5A Bigger Grand Canyon. The painting is a culminating statement about the depiction of space and the experience of being within a space, or travelling through a space, over time. Hockney refers to the lessons of Cubism where a subject is depicted with multiple viewpoints, to Chinese scroll painting, where different time sequences and different elements of a landscape coalesce to form an apparent whole, and his own set designs for opera.

Hockney created his sixty-canvas work with as many viewpoints and points in time. The painting suggests what it is like to be in a landscape, to travel around it, to view tiny details as well as dramatic vistas, to see changing light, to trample the earth underfoot, and to feel the sun beating down. The viewer is able to round jagged outcrops, descend rocky steps, look down over dry river beds and view distant escarpments, while confronting at close hand strange sculptural forms. Marco Livingstone commented that 'A Bigger Grand Canyon places the viewer so convincingly at the canyon's south rim at Powell Point, one of the most spectacular vantage points, as to induce in some the vertiginous thrill of standing on the edge of a precipice so deep and extensive that it almost defies the imagination.'6

The element of the Sublime has been noted by Paul Melia: 'The genre of landscape has been important to Hockney since the beginning of his professional career. Until relatively recently, however, he was unable to draw upon the Romantic or neo-Romantic tradition of landscape art: personal experience, empathy, quasi-magical feelings aroused by a place or location, spontaneity - all triggers of artistic production for older generations of [British] artists.'7A Bigger Grand Canyon has links to the rich and awe-inspiring English Romantic tradition, but also to the Symbolist landscapes of Paul Gauguin and the Pont Aven artists. In their works the universal, the symbolic, are tapped while the pedestrian or the man-made is excluded. Hockney presents the Grand Canyon without evidence of human intrusion.

Brilliance of colour and vastness of space characterised the world of dreams when Hockney was growing up in the then heavily industrialised North of England. His Grand Canyon painting, according to Livingstone, recalls 'the magnificent spectacle of the Hollywood cinema which had helped draw him [Hockney] to the American West while he was a young boy day dreaming in Bradford'.89A Bigger Grand Canyon is rich in golds, crimsons, scarlets, oranges, ochres and browns, and contrasts of brilliant blues and greens. The visual impact, on even the most jaded twenty-first century eye, is as powerful and confronting as a Fauve palette would have been in the restrained world at the beginning of the last century.

Jane Kinsman

  1. quoted in 'Interview' by Lawrence Weschler, in David Hockney: Looking at Landscape/Being in Landscape, Los Angeles: LA Louver 1998, p.28
  2. photo-collage, 68.6 x 182.9 cm, collection of the artist
  3. photo-collage, 113.0 cm x 322.6 cm, collection of the artist
  4. quoted in David Hockney: Looking at Landscape/Being in Landscape pp.8-10
  5. charcoal, pencil, ink drawing with tape on three sheets, overall size 57.1 x 199.3 cm, collection of Dale Chihuly
  6. Marco Livingstone, 'Report for the National Gallery of Australia', 17 April 1999, p.1
  7. Paul Melia, 'Report for the National Gallery of Australia', 4 May 1991
  8. Marco Livingstone, David Hockney, Space & Line: Grand Canyon Pastels on Paper, 1998 & Works on Paper 1966-1994, New York: Richard Gray Gallery 1999, p. 6. See also p. 11, note 7
  9. Marco Livingstone, 'Report for the National Gallery of Australia', 17 April 1999
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works signed and dated verso c., ballpoint pen, "B. JOUBERT / 1980" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2520 Provenance signed and dated on canvas return u.r., ballpoint pen, "EK 1963" [see notes] Purchased 1977 NGA 1977.794 © Ellsworth Kelly View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Kelly's studies in Paris between 1949 and 1954 put him in contact with a number of established European artists including Jean Arp (1887-1966), Contstantin Brancusi (1876-1957) and Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965), whose example was influential in giving a direction to his work. He defined the basic ingredients for a boldly coloured, hard-edged abstract art that he was to develop fully on his return to the United States. Referring to the work he did between 1954 and 1965 Kelly stated that, 'the salient feature of my painting at that time was a large curved form that squeezed the ground to the edge of the canvas'.1

This is an apt description for the swelling orange cumulus that dominates the white field of Orange white 1964-65 in the Australian National Gallery's collection. The interaction of the assertive curved shape against the plain ground in this work is a format common to a number of works, each differing in size, colour and the proportion of figure to ground. Kelly thoroughly investigated the impact of change in the many variations of this basic composition in prints and sculpture as well as painting during the 1960s. The artist has confirmed the dating of 1964-65 and the title for Orange white.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.348.

  1. Ellsworth Kelly, 'Ellsworth Kelly', in Colin Naylor (ed.), Contemporary Artists, Chicago: St James Press, 1989, pp.485-6, p.486.
  2. Margo H. Levin, correspondence with the Gallery, 12 June 1985.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Purchased 2003 NGA 2003.242 Provenance painted in image c.l. "Abend-Land" Purchased 1989 NGA 1989.2254.A-B Anselm Kiefer, courtesy Anthony d'Offay Gallery View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The huge scale of Twilight of the West creates a confrontational impact on the viewer that is not achieved with smaller easel paintings. Kiefer constructs works of this size with an underlying skeleton of broad gestural marks reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism. He adopts a wide variety of pictorial devices, in particular the nineteenth-century Romantics' use of the symbolic landscape to create a drama of epic proportions.

The title indicates the grandeur of Kiefer's ambition. The original German title Abendland, written in black paint on the right side of the painting, derives from a study of history, Der Untergang des Abendlandes [The Decline of the West], written by Oswald Spengler and published in 1918. The painting therefore refers directly to the weariness and moral disillusionment of a century wracked by titanic struggles.

A recurrent motif in his work is the path through desolation. In Twilight of the West the path is the railway tracks that cut the countryside in half, urging the eye deep into a blighted industrial hinterland. Perhaps the tracks lead to a concentration camp or perhaps the single track that divides into two separate lines symbolises the partition of Germany. Most likely Kiefer intends his iron road to function as a pictorial 'via dolorosa', a moral guide through life's hardships.

Kiefer uses his camera as a sketching tool: a number of his works are painted directly onto enlarged photographs or are based on photographs. The image of the railway tracks was recorded during his visit to Bordeaux perhaps as early as 1984, and certainly was used in the painting Iron path 1986. The obvious difference here is the addition of the vast sheet of lead above the horizon line. Kiefer began using lead in 1985. The metal sheet is worked, wrinkled and crumpled like paper. Lead is a powerful metal, both as a protection against radiation and as an industrial pollutant. It also has associations with alchemy as the base metal that might be transmuted into gold and, as such, it parallels the idea of metamorphosis that underlies Kiefer's art.

The sun, an impression of a manhole cover stamped in the soft lead sheet, is low on the horizon. Twilight, and a leaden veil of darkness, descends on our civilisation. But just as the manhole suggests a way out, so the sun will follow the night. Like the lead curtain, the landscape below it is near monochromatic. The limited range of colour reproduces the muting effect of twilight, with its dominance of red-browns and raking illumination.

The composition of Twilight of the West maximises the ambiguities and opposition of materials: the soft, flowing lead against the brittle encrustations of paint, the severe division between heaven and earth, of detail against abstract area. Kiefer's dramatic contrast of near and far engineers heightened tension at the horizon line, the meeting point of spatial illusion and the literalness of his material. Twilight of the West evokes a mood of sombre poetry, a mixture of memory and melancholy.

adapted from Michael Desmond, ANGA News, May-June 1990, by Christine Dixon

View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased with the assistance of Geoff and Vicki Ainsworth 2001 NGA 2001.133 © Leon Kossoff View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

For many years Kossoff has drawn and painted the London that he knows, familiar haunts such as views near his Dalston studio, the Kilburn Underground Station, and Christ Church at Spitalfields, designed by the English Baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor and built in the 1720s. During the 1980s and early 1990s Kossoff was fascinated by the Christ Church and explored its potential in a series of drawings and paintings. The motif symbolised for Kossoff the 'London of Blake's Jerusalem', with all its majesty, power and tradition. Christ Church Spitalfields, Summer avoids the overly dramatic. At the same time the artist emphasises the looming building, evoking a sensation of toppling. However powerful in feeling, the painting is balanced in its composition. Figures in the foreground are prominent as they rush to and fro, while a tree stands in the mid-ground.

Kossoff's painting style found in the Spitalfields series, and particularly in this work, is masterly both in the sense of its formal properties and the resolution of the composition. The brushwork, the swirls and trails of paint reveal the painting method of the artist. In this, Christ Church Spitalfields, Summer is both about the act of painting and a particular urban landscape in a particular season. The quality of painting is more accomplished than ever, with a lightness of touch and palette and a greater purity of colour all contributing to the sensation of experiencing London in summer. As with Monet and the Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock artists, Kossoff often seeks to capture the fugitive atmospheric element of a landscape as it changes its appearance because of seasons or the time of day. Reflecting on Christ Church Spitalfields, Summer, Kossoff wrote that it 'is quite different from all the other paintings of the subject. The figures on the pavement are on their way to celebrate a wedding in a near-by public-house. Though it is unlike the Ridley Rd painting, they do relate to one another in a curious way. The earlier being of 'Friday evening', the other of 'Saturday morning'. (I should have mentioned this in the title).'

Jane Kinsman

  1. the artist, in Jed Perl, 'Autumn alphabet: Leon Kossoff', New Criterion, vol.7 no.7, March 1989 pp.51-52, quoted in Moorhouse p.33
  2. letter from Kossoff to the Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Dr Brian Kennedy, 14 November 2001
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works inscribed verso, yellow synthetic polymer paint, "DALTON JUNCT/WITH RIDLEY RD ST./MARKET./FRIDAY EVENING/NOV. 1972/L. KOSSOFF" Purchased 1978 NGA 1978.625 © Leon Kossoff View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Kossoff has always observed and delineated the materiality of London's life, its streets, buildings, lines of transport and communication, and its inhabitants. He draws on its physical and human rhythms, studies its particular streetscapes, overshadowed by or framed within the urban structures of roads, railways and shops. In a foreword to the catalogue for his exhibition at Fischer Fine Art in 1973, he wrote:

I was born in a now demolished building in City Road not far from St. Pauls. Ever since the age of twelve I have drawn and painted London. I have worked from Bethnal Green, the City, Willesden Junction, York Way and Dalston. I have painted its bomb sites, building sites, excavations, railways and recently a children's swimming pool in Willesden.

The strange ever changing light, the endless streets and the shuddering feel of the sprawling city lingers in my mind like a faintly glimmering memory of a long forgotten, perhaps never experienced childhood, which, if rediscovered and illuminated, would ameliorate the pain of the present ...

Kossoff's means of conveying such complexities is denseness: the building-up of pigment, oil paint, gestures and marks all adding to the intensity of his encounter with the canvas, or rather board. He first draws the painting's site and subject in bold charcoal. He may venture only a short distance from his studio, as in Dalston Junction with Ridley Road street market, Friday evening, November 1972. The artist established a second studio in Dalston Lane in Hackney, London E8, between 1972 and 1975. The aerial view in a gouache study for the painting (NGA) shows Dalston railway junction with the parallel railway lines, platforms, and street markets on the right. Kossoff animates his picture not only by his three-dimensional oil paint but also with the encounters between the industrial, mechanical and architectural elements of modern city life, as well as the colourful and varied life of the people in the markets. They all coalesce into an urban organism.

The depth and striation of each stroke of paint are manifold, and the colours lively: orange, white, ochre, grey, blue and green. Kossoff's composition is clearly based on his drawings on the spot. Occasionally, when considering Dalston Junction with Ridley Road street market, Friday evening, November 1972 from side to side or top to bottom, the viewer's eye is halted by a horizontal slash. The punctuations are made by a palette knife disturbing the lava cliffs of paint building a landscape of the industrial city. Even Kossoff's means of communication, clotted oil paint, seems to express a pessimistic view of London - claustrophobic, polluted, crowded, almost joyless - but nonetheless engaged, vital, communal and enduring.

Christine Dixon

View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1992 NGA 1992.431.A-C Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1972 NGA 1972.317 © 1960 Morris Louis View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Beta Nu is one of a group of paintings known as 'Unfurleds' which Louis considered his most ambitious works.1 He began painting the series in the summer of 1960, and concluded early in 1961. The 'Unfurleds' were painted after the series of 'Veils' and a series of experimental groups — the 'Florals', 'Columns', 'Omegas' and 'Japanese Banners' — which were painted during the winter of 1959-60. In the six to eight months that Louis worked on the 'Unfurled' series he produced over 120 paintings, of which he destroyed about forty because the blue colours were not fast.2

The 'Unfurleds', which are characterised by irregular rivulets of colour running diagonally down from each side of the canvas leaving a blank centre, fall into two types; those with four or five broad bands of colour independent of each other, and those with ten or more narrow bands which sometimes overlap. It is likely that the former type, of which Beta Nu is an example, were painted earlier.

The height of the paintings in the 'Unfurled' series is similar and was governed by the standard-sized bolts of canvas that Louis used. Much variation occurs in the width, however, as Louis attempted to discover how great the blank central area could be while still retaining the tension between the two extremities. Beta Nu, with a width 701.04 cm (276"), is one of the largest 'Unfurleds'.3

Like the 'Veils', the 'Unfurleds' were titled posthumously, and letters from the Greek alphabet were used to identify this series. This method had a precedent in two 'Unfurleds' titled Alpha and Delta by Louis himself for the 1960 exhibition at Bennington College, Vermont. The title Beta Nu combines the second and twelfth letters of the Greek alphabet.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.302.

  1. Louis' appraisal of the 'Unfurleds' was reported by Clement Greenberg to Michael Fried; see Morris Louis, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1970, p.32; and Headley, 'In Addition to the Veils', op. cit., cf. p.91.
  2. Kenworth Moffett, 'Morris Louis: Omegas and Unfurleds', Artforum, vol. 8, no. 9, May 1970, pp.44-7, cf. p.46, n.3.
  3. Beta Iota 1960, located at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, is larger at 718.82 cm (283") and is perhaps the largest of the 'Unfurleds'.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 2001 NGA 2002.143 Provenance signed l.r., brush and ink, "H. Matisse" Purchased with the assistance of the NGA Foundation, AFANG, and other private donations 1990 NGA 1990.1584 © Henri Matisse. Licensed by Succession Matisse & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In 1941, when he was seventy-two years old, Matisse suffered a serious illness that left him virtually an invalid for the rest of his life. Propped up in bed and unable to paint, he concentrated on drawing, first with pen, pencil and charcoal, and then with scissors, cutting out shapes from sheets of coloured paper and pasting them down. Matisse called them decoupages, or 'cut-outs', and they became his preferred method of working during the last ten years of his life.

Matisse's first great achievement in this medium was Jazz, a portfolio of twenty colour plates printed in pochoir after a series of cut-outs that he began working on as early as 1941 (the Australian National Gallery owns a copy of this portfolio). However, it was a decorative commission from the London-based textile printer Zika Ascher that prompted Matisse to recognise in this technique the means for a mural-scale art form that came to constitute the climax of his career.

Ascher first approached Matisse for a textile design early in 1946. Matisse did not immediately refuse but rather asked that Ascher visit again the next time he was in Paris. When Ascher returned he found Matisse sitting on his bed in the middle of a large room in his Boulevard Montparnasse apartment, paper and scissors in hand directing his assistant, Lydia Delectorskaya, who was pinning the cut-out shapes directly onto the walls of the room.1 From dado to cornice, two adjacent walls were covered with white silhouettes of fish, birds, jellyfish, coral, the life of sea and sky from a distant Pacific world that Matisse had visited many years before in 1930. 'It's as though my memory had suddenly taken the place of the outside world', he told the photographer Brassai, who also visited him at this time. 'Sixteen years after my trip to Tahiti, my memories are finally coming back to me. There, swimming everyday in the lagoon, I took such intense pleasure in contemplating the submarine world'.2

Zika Ascher was given the task of translating these huge compositions of flimsy paper cut-outs pinned on the walls into the more durable form of screenprinted wall-hangings. First the right cloth had to be found. Matisse was worried that the first samples sent to him by Ascher were too fine and would lose their substance. In letters to Ascher of 13 and 24 October 1946 he stressed that a 'good, stiff cloth' was essential, and enclosed samples of linen from the fabric supplier Planeix from the Brittany town of Uzel.3

Another area of concern was the artist's wish to duplicate for the background the exact colour of his apartment wall-covering, a light beige that reminded Matisse of 'the golden light of the Pacific'. Noticing Ascher surreptitiously looking for a loose scrap of wall-covering to take away, Matisse insisted that they call in a picture restorer to copy the colour. Twice Ascher returned to find Matisse infuriated by a dozen or more colour cards of minutely differing shades of beige, none of which satisfied his eye. Ascher was eventually sent two approximations and instructed to dye the linen in a shade between the two.4

The final stage involved screenprinting the paper cut-out shapes in opaque white onto the linen support. Matisse and Ascher thought first of attempting a photographic enlargement for the printing, as referred to in the artist's letter of 13 October. This process was not satisfactory, however, and Ascher suggested instead tracing the full compositional layouts and sending the subsequently unpinned maquette elements to England to verify the detailing. Eventually this was the procedure followed, though not without Matisse expressing misgivings that 'if it were to be traced, there would be some interpretation on the part of the tracer'.5

Advice and practical assistance in the printing was sought by Ascher from the Belfast Silk and Rayon Company. Their chemist, Gisa Gewing, developed a new pigment dye especially for the panels and they were printed at the firm's Belfast printworks in 1948 with Zika Ascher overseeing production. Oceania, the sky and Oceania, the sea were printed in an edition of thirty examples each. They were then sent to Matisse in Nice for checking and signing.

Matisse was delighted by the result and kept half of the total edition for himself, returning the balance signed and numbered, to Ascher.6 Shortly afterwards, Matisse was urging Jean Cassou to include both panels in his exhibition at the Musée National d'art Museum, Paris, in 1949, and in the winter of 1949-50 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, arranged a series of venues for their exhibition throughout the United States.

In a statement published in the magazine Labyrinthe in December 1946 Matisse wrote eloquently of the inspiration behind these works:

This panel, [Oceania, the sea] printed on linen — white for the motifs and beige for the background — forms together with a second panel, [Oceania, the sky] a wall tapestry composed during reveries which come fifteen years after a voyage to Oceania.

From the first, the enchantments of the sky there, the fish, and the coral in the lagoons, plunged me into the inaction of total ecstasy. The local tones of things hadn't changed, but their effect in the light of the Pacific gave me the same feeling as I had when I looked into a large golden chalice.

With my eyes wide open I absorbed everything as a sponge absorbs liquid. It is only now that these wonders have returned me, with tenderness and clarity, and have permitted me, with protracted pleasure, to execute these two panels.7

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.166.

  1. Valerie D. Mendes and Frances M. Hinchcliffe, Zika and Lida Ascher: Fabric, Art, Fashion, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1987 (exhibition catalogue) p.36.
  2. Brassa (Jules Halasz), Conversations over Picasso, Paris: Gallimard, 1964, pp.305-6.
  3. Matisse's letters to Zika Ascher of 13 and 24 October 1946, still in possession of Ascher in London, are given in full, in French, in the exhibition catalogue Henri Matisse: Paper Cut-Outs (withcontributions by Jack Cowart, Jack D. Flam, Dominique Fourcade, John Hallmark Neff) , published by the St Louis Art Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1977: see Documents Appendix 2-4, pp.278-9. This catalogue also provides the standard catalogue entry for Oceania, the sky and Oceania, the sea, p. 125. An English translation of the Ascher letters is appended to Liv Kavanagh, 'Fine Art and Textiles: The Ascher Head Squares and Wall Panels', Apollo, May 1987, pp.331-7.
  4. Mendes and Hinchcliffe, op. cit., p. 37.
  5. ' Ne m'aviez-vous pas dit que tout était fait photographiquement, donc sons interpretation-s'il y a tracé il y a interprétation de la part du traceur' (Matisse to Ascher, 24 October 1946: Henri Matisse: Paper Cut-Outs, op. cit., document 4, p.279).
  6. This division of the edition was confirmed by Wanda Guébriant, Matisse Archives, Paris, in telephone conversation with the authors on 7 October 1990. Zika Ascher confirmed, in a telephone conversation with the authors also on 7 October 1990, that the entire edition was sent to Matisse in Nice for signing.
  7. Labyrinthe, vol. 11, no. 3, December 1946, pp.22-3; reprinted in Jack D. Flam, Matisse on Art, London: Phaidon, 1973, pp.109-10.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.2286.A-D Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1975 NGA 1976.1464 © The Henry Moore Foundation Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.2285 © Elie Nadelman Estate View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The plaster Horse has survived as one of the most important works from Nadelman's early period in Paris. Its fluent geometry, that taut answering of curve and countercurve, created, as Nadelman claimed for his sculpture, 'a new life which had nothing to do with nature'.1 The plump, buoyant profile of the horse also anticipates the painted wooden carvings of society figures which Nadelman later made in the United Sates.

The Horse was included in a comprehensive exhibition of Nadelman's work at Paterson's Gallery, London, in April 1911. The entire exhibition was purchased by Helena Rubinstein, herself Polish, like Nadelman, and already famous as a founder of the modern cosmetic industry.

A reduced version of the plaster Horse was possibly cast as early as 1914.2 The number of casts and the foundry concerned are unknown. Examples of this cast are in the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona.3 Another small variation, in bronze, with the horse rearing back, was purchased for the Dial Collection from Galerie Flechtheim, Berlin, 1923, and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Following their purchase of the plaster horse in 1966, the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York, ordered seven full-scale bronze casts to be made (numbered 0 to 6) by the Modern Art Foundry, New York. Of these casts, one is in the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, and another in the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. The remainder are in private collections.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.104.

  1. Nadelman made this statement in a catalogue introduction which he wrote for an exhibition of his drawings organised by Alfred Stieglitz for the little gallery at the Photo-Secession, New York, in 1910. Nadelman, however, recalled his drawings from the gallery for his exhibition at Paterson's Gallery, London; in 1911. Nevertheless, Stieglitz published his statement in Camera Work, no. 32, October 1910, p.41.
  2. The size of this reduced version is 31.7(h) x 29.8(w) x 8.3(d) cm (12½ x 11¾ x 3¼") without base. Lincoln Kirstein has suggested that the first casting of the reduction in bronze occurred 'prior to 1914', although 'subsequent to 1955, at least six more were cast by the Modern Art Foundry' (Lincoln Kirstein, Elie Nadelman, New York: Eakins Press, 1973, p.305, cat. no. 181).
  3. The authors are grateful to Valerie J. Fletcher, Assistant Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, for information on the whereabouts of the reduced bronze casts.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | inscribed at rear on support stem "Par le citoyen Pajou de Paris / l'an III de la Republique / a Montpellier le 3 Vendemiaire 1794", inscribed at rear on lip of shoulder, "A.L.F. Viel de Lunas Marquis d'Espeuille" Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1705 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1985 NGA 1985.1684 Provenance signed, dated, and titled, right panel verso c.l., fibre-tipped pen, "Mimmo Paladino 1980 / - Poeto all'ombro -" Purchased 1983 NGA 1984.470.A-C Provenance signed and dated verso u.l., "M Paladino 1985", inscribed verso c.l., "Scorticato" Purchased 1987 NGA 1987.984 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1991 NGA 1991.1561.1-2 Provenance signed and dated under base l.r., on metal plate, felt-tipped pen, "RAUSCHENBERG AP VI/X 78" Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2454 © Robert Rauschenberg. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance signed and dated verso l.l., on metal plate, felt-tipped pen, "RAUSCHENBERG AP VI/X 78" Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2457 © Robert Rauschenberg. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance signed and dated verso l.r., on metal plate, felt-tipped pen, "RAUSCHENBERG AP VI/X 78" Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2458.A-B © Robert Rauschenberg. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance Signed and dated verso l.l., on metal plate, felt-tipped pen, "RASCHENBERG AP VI/X 78" Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2455 © Robert Rauschenberg. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance signed and dated verso l.c., on metal plate, felt-tipped pen, "RAUSCHENBERG AP VI/X 78" Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2456 © Robert Rauschenberg. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance signed and dated verso of metal shelf, on metal plate, felt-tipped pen, "RAUSCHENBERG AP VI/X 78" Purchased 1979 NGA 1979.2459.A-F © Robert Rauschenberg. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance inscribed upper surface of base, "A Rodin", at rear of base, "George Rudier./ Foundeur. Paris.", and on right side of base, "c Musee Rodin. 1973" Purchased 1974 NGA 1974.381 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In 1884 the Municipal Council of the town of Calais proposed the erection of a monument to celebrate an act of heroism by its citizens during the Hundred Years War. Calais in 1347 had been besieged by the forces of the English king, Edward III, and after a long and bitter resistance was forced to capitulate. Edwards agreed to spare the city if six of the town's leading citizens would surrender the keys to the city and their lives into his hands. Dressed in sackcloth and wearing nooses around their necks, the six volunteers walked to the English camp and presented themselves to the king. At the intercession of Edward's queen the six hostages were spared.

Rodin was approached with the proposal in September 1884 by the mayor of Calais, M. Omer Dewavrin, and by November 1884 the artist had completed a maquette for the monument. Although the original plan was to represent only one of the burghers, Eustache de Saint Pierre, the eldest burgher and the first to volunteer, Rodin's maquette showed all six burghers. And, rather than portraying the burghers as they confronted the English king, as was customary in earlier depictions of this episode, Rodin chose the moment when they are just setting out to walk to the English camp.

Later he told Paul Gsell:

I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis, such a glorification of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything real. On the contrary, I have, as it were, threaded them one behind the other, because in the indecision of that last inner combat which ensues between their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in front of his conscience. They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacrifice — their soul pushes them onward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrifice … If I have succeeded in showing how much the body, weakened by the most cruel sufferings, still holds on to life, how much power it still has over the spirit that is consumed with bravery, I congratulate myself on not having remained beneath the noble theme I have dealt with.1

The maquette was presented to the committee in January 1885, together with submissions by sculptors Emile François Chatrousse (1829-96) and Laurent-Honoré Marqueste (1848-1920). On 20 January Rodin was notified that he had been selected by the committee and on the 28th a contract was signed between the two parties.

The initial maquette for The burghers of Calais was first cast in bronze in 1970. The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is the ninth of an edition of twelve and was cast by the Goddard Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A variant which includes the pedestal also exists in an edition of twelve bronze casts. The maquette in the Gallery's collection does not include the block-like pedestal that supported the figures when first presented to the Calais committee. This tall base was not developed further however, and was superseded by the more radical idea of placing the figures directly on the ground. Rodin elaborated this startlingly original notion to Paul Gsell:

I did not want a pedestal for these figures. I wanted them to be placed on, even affixed to, the paving stones of the square in front of the town hall in Calais so that it looked as if they were leaving in order to go to the enemy camp. In this way they would have been, as it were, mixed with the daily life of the town: passersby would have elbowed them, and they would have felt through this contact the emotion of the living past in their midst; they would have said to themselves: 'Our ancestors are our neighbours and our models, and the day when it will be granted to us to imitate their example, we would show that we have not degenerated from it ' … But the commissioning body understood nothing of the desires I expressed. They thought I was mad … Statues without a pedestal! Where had that ever been seen before? there must be a pedestal; there was no way of getting around it.2

Ultimately the Burghers were positioned, against Rodin's recommendation, on a pedestal of medium height designed by one of the members of the committee when the monument was finally inaugurated in 1895.

After the initial maquette for The burghers of Calais had been accepted by the committee Rodin began a second maquette, consisting of individual figures, which was displayed in Calais in August 1885. By then he had already started work on nude studies that exist for at least four of the six figures in the monument. In a letter of 14 July 1885 Rodin indicated that preliminary work on the nude studies was complete and that they were ready for enlargement: 'My nudes are done, that is to say the lower layer, and I am going to have them executed definitively, so as not to lose time. You see it is the part that is not seen that is the most important, and it is finished'.3 The Australian National Gallery has two life-size casts of the nude studies, Nude study for Jean d'Aire c.1885-86, and Nude study for Jean de Fiennes c.1885-86.

In the account of the surrender of Calais given in the Chronicles of the fourteenth-century historian Jean Froissart, Jean d'Aire is nominated as the second of the burghers to have offered himself as a hostage: 'Then another greatly respected and wealthy citizen, who had two beautiful daughters, stood up and said that he would go with his friend, master Eustache de St Pierre'.4 In each of the maquettes and in the final monument, Jean d'Aire is appropriately placed beside Eustache de Saint Pierre — to his left in the first and second maquettes, and to his right in the final arrangement.

Although the posture of the nude study for Jean d'Aire is similar to the figure in the second maquette that preceded it, a number of small changes exist and are carried over to the final monument. The position of the legs, once advancing one in front of the other, are here spread apart and immobile. The head, once drooping, is here raised, conveying, with the new disposition of the legs, a sense of steadfastness, even defiance. In making these changes Rodin may have been responding to criticisms of the second maquette by the committee, who remarked that the burghers' 'defeated postures offend our religious feelings'.5

The Nude study for Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the third in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1973 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. In addition to the life-size nude study, a later reduced version measuring 105 cm in height exists in a similar edition.

Jean de Fiennes was not identified in Jean Froissart's Chronicles and his name only came to light in 1863 when Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove published a manuscript found in the Vatican library naming Jean de Fiennes and Andrieu d'Andres as the two unknown burghers.6 The pose of Jean de Fiennes is little changed from the open-armed, slightly turning attitude established in the second maquette, and is carried through to the final figure with only small refinements. The Nude study of Jean de Fiennes in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1974 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In June 1886 Rodin received further funds from the committee for the development of individual figures for the monument. Edmond de Goncourt, in his journal, reported having seen 'life-size clay studies for the six hostages of Calais' during a visit to Rodin's studio on the afternoon of 17 April 1886.7 Three of the completed figures in plaster were exhibited at the George Petit Gallery in Paris in 1887; two more were exhibited there in 1888, and finally all six were shown in 1889 at the exhibition held jointly with Claude Monet (1840-1926).

The Australian National Gallery has casts of four of the six figures intended for the final monument, Eustache de Saint Pierre, Jean d'Aire, Pierre de Wiessant and Andrieu d'Andres.

In the first maquette of 1884, Eustache de Saint Pierre occupies a prominent position, carrying the keys to the city and pointing dramatically to the English camp. In the second maquette he is still in the front rank of burghers, but here he stoops under the burden of his decision, his arms drooping by his sides. Reviewing the second maquette, the committee particularly objected to 'the despondency shown by Eustache de Saint Pierre'.8 Rodin replied that at best he would be prepared to alter 'the one who is in despair' (Andrieu d'Andres), but not Eustache de Saint Pierre, who 'is the first to descend and for my lines he needs to be like this'.9

For the following studies of Eustache de Saint Pierre Rodin used several models. his friend Jean-Charles Cazin posed for the first nude study of 1886; for a second, made in 1886-87, he probably used Pignatelli, the Italian model he had used for his John the Baptist preaching 1878. Eustache de Saint Pierre in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve and was cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1984 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of this figure, measuring 47.0 cm (18½"), exists, as does an edition of the head.

In the final version of Jean d'Aire, Rodin has placed a massive single key in the hands of the figure, replacing the pillow supporting a number of smaller keys that appeared in the second maquette. The figure of Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the seventh in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974, from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In his Chronicle, Jean Froissart describes Pierre de Wiessant simply as the brother of Jaques de Wiessant, owner of a rich country estate and the fourth burgher to volunteer. In the first maquette of 1884, Rodin has already given him his final gesture, the raised arm. In the second maquette the gesture is refined, and retained in the subsequent nude studies and in the final figure for the monument. One of the nude studies for Pierre di Wiessant, a partial figure missing head and hands, provides interesting evidence of Rodin's method of adding and removing parts. The right hand used for Pierre de Wiessant is also used for Jaques de Wiessant and the same features are used in the heads of Jean d'Aire, Andrieu de Andres and Jaques de Wiessant. The head of Pierre de Wiessant is thought to have been modelled on the features of Coquelin Cadet, a popular comedian of the time. Pierre de Wiessant in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A reduction of this figure was cast and issued in an edition of twelve in 1890. A cast of the head of Pierre de Wiessant was separately issued at much the same time. By 1908 a monumental head was also editioned.

Like Jean de Fiennes, the name of Andrieu d'Andres is not mentioned by Jean Froissart in his Chronicle, but was also uncovered in 1863 by Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove. the first maquette shows Andrieu de Andres already clutching his head in despair, the pose that was singled out for criticism when it reappeared in the second maquette. As with the figures of Jean d'Aire and Jaques de Wiessant, the head of this figure appears to be modelled on Rodin's son Auguste Beuret. The figure of Andrieu d'Andres in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1985 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of the figure was made in about 1890 and also exists in an edition of twelve.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.58.

  1. Paul Gsell, 'Chez Rodin', L'Art et les Artistes, no. 109, April 1914, pp.49-72, cf. pp.67-8: 'Je ne les ai pas groupés en une apothéose triomphante: car une telle glorification de leur héroïsme n'aurait correspondu à rien de réel. Au contraire, je les ai comme égrenés les uns derriere les autres, parce que, dans l'indécision du dernier combat intérieur qui se livre entre leur dévouement à leur cité et leur peur de mourir, chacun d'eux est comme isolé en face de sa conscience. Ils s'interrogent encore pour savoir s'ils auront la force d'accomplir le suprême sacrifice Leur âme les pousse en avant et leurs pieds refusent de marcher. Ils se traînent péniblement, autant à cause de la faiblesse à laquelle les a réduits la famine, qu'à cause de l'épouvante du supplice … Et certainement, si j'ai réussi à montrer combien le corps, même exténué par les plus cruelles souffrances, tient encore à la vie, combien il a encore d'empire sur l'âme éprise de vaillance, je ne puis me féliciter de n'être pas resté au-dessous du noble thème que j'avais à traiter'.
  2. Gsell, op. cit.: 'Je ne voulais aucun piédestal à ces statues. Je souhaitais qu'elles fussent posées, scellées à même les dalles de la place publique, devant l'hôtel de ville de Calais, et qu'elles eussent l'air de partir de là pour se rendre au camp des ennemis. Elles se seraient ainsi trouvées comme mêlées à l'existence quotidienne de la ville: les passants les eussent coudoyées et ils eussent ressenti à ce contact l'émotion du passé vivant au milieu d'eux; ils se fussent dit: "Nos ancêtres sont nos voisins et nos modèles, et le jour où il nous sera donné d'imiter leur exemple, nous devrons montrer que nous n'avons pas dégénéré de leur vertu!" … Mais la commission officielle ne comprit rien aux désirs que j'exprimai. elle me crut fou … Des statues sans piédestal! Où donc cela s'était-il jamais vu. il fallait un piédestal; il n'y avait pas moyen de s'en passer.'
  3. Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 (trans. Geoffrey Brereton), p.107.
  4. Judith Cladel, Rodin, The Man and His Art, New York: Century, 1917 (trans. S.K. Star), p.157.
  5. Mary Jo McNamara, Rodin's Burghers of Calais, New York: Cantor Fitzgerald Group, 1977, p.10.
  6. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal: Mémoires de la vie Littéraire, Paris: Fasquelle, Flammarion, 1959, vol. 3, p.563.
  7. ibid., p.70, for a reprint of the report in its entirety.
  8. Undated letter from Rodin to M. Dewavrin, Musée Rodin, Paris, reprinted in John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, p.383.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | inscribed on upper surface of base, "A Rodin/ No I/IV", and at rear, "F C c By Musee Rodin 1984" Purchased 1985 NGA 1985.1227 View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In 1884 the Municipal Council of the town of Calais proposed the erection of a monument to celebrate an act of heroism by its citizens during the Hundred Years War. Calais in 1347 had been besieged by the forces of the English king, Edward III, and after a long and bitter resistance was forced to capitulate. Edwards agreed to spare the city if six of the town's leading citizens would surrender the keys to the city and their lives into his hands. Dressed in sackcloth and wearing nooses around their necks, the six volunteers walked to the English camp and presented themselves to the king. At the intercession of Edward's queen the six hostages were spared.

Rodin was approached with the proposal in September 1884 by the mayor of Calais, M. Omer Dewavrin, and by November 1884 the artist had completed a maquette for the monument. Although the original plan was to represent only one of the burghers, Eustache de Saint Pierre, the eldest burgher and the first to volunteer, Rodin's maquette showed all six burghers. And, rather than portraying the burghers as they confronted the English king, as was customary in earlier depictions of this episode, Rodin chose the moment when they are just setting out to walk to the English camp.

Later he told Paul Gsell:

I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis, such a glorification of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything real. On the contrary, I have, as it were, threaded them one behind the other, because in the indecision of that last inner combat which ensues between their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in front of his conscience. They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacrifice — their soul pushes them onward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrifice … If I have succeeded in showing how much the body, weakened by the most cruel sufferings, still holds on to life, how much power it still has over the spirit that is consumed with bravery, I congratulate myself on not having remained beneath the noble theme I have dealt with.1

The maquette was presented to the committee in January 1885, together with submissions by sculptors Emile François Chatrousse (1829-96) and Laurent-Honoré Marqueste (1848-1920). On 20 January Rodin was notified that he had been selected by the committee and on the 28th a contract was signed between the two parties.

The initial maquette for The burghers of Calais was first cast in bronze in 1970. The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is the ninth of an edition of twelve and was cast by the Goddard Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A variant which includes the pedestal also exists in an edition of twelve bronze casts. The maquette in the Gallery's collection does not include the block-like pedestal that supported the figures when first presented to the Calais committee. This tall base was not developed further however, and was superseded by the more radical idea of placing the figures directly on the ground. Rodin elaborated this startlingly original notion to Paul Gsell:

I did not want a pedestal for these figures. I wanted them to be placed on, even affixed to, the paving stones of the square in front of the town hall in Calais so that it looked as if they were leaving in order to go to the enemy camp. In this way they would have been, as it were, mixed with the daily life of the town: passersby would have elbowed them, and they would have felt through this contact the emotion of the living past in their midst; they would have said to themselves: 'Our ancestors are our neighbours and our models, and the day when it will be granted to us to imitate their example, we would show that we have not degenerated from it ' … But the commissioning body understood nothing of the desires I expressed. They thought I was mad … Statues without a pedestal! Where had that ever been seen before? there must be a pedestal; there was no way of getting around it.2

Ultimately the Burghers were positioned, against Rodin's recommendation, on a pedestal of medium height designed by one of the members of the committee when the monument was finally inaugurated in 1895.

After the initial maquette for The burghers of Calais had been accepted by the committee Rodin began a second maquette, consisting of individual figures, which was displayed in Calais in August 1885. By then he had already started work on nude studies that exist for at least four of the six figures in the monument. In a letter of 14 July 1885 Rodin indicated that preliminary work on the nude studies was complete and that they were ready for enlargement: 'My nudes are done, that is to say the lower layer, and I am going to have them executed definitively, so as not to lose time. You see it is the part that is not seen that is the most important, and it is finished'.3 The Australian National Gallery has two life-size casts of the nude studies, Nude study for Jean d'Aire c.1885-86, and Nude study for Jean de Fiennes c.1885-86.

In the account of the surrender of Calais given in the Chronicles of the fourteenth-century historian Jean Froissart, Jean d'Aire is nominated as the second of the burghers to have offered himself as a hostage: 'Then another greatly respected and wealthy citizen, who had two beautiful daughters, stood up and said that he would go with his friend, master Eustache de St Pierre'.4 In each of the maquettes and in the final monument, Jean d'Aire is appropriately placed beside Eustache de Saint Pierre — to his left in the first and second maquettes, and to his right in the final arrangement.

Although the posture of the nude study for Jean d'Aire is similar to the figure in the second maquette that preceded it, a number of small changes exist and are carried over to the final monument. The position of the legs, once advancing one in front of the other, are here spread apart and immobile. The head, once drooping, is here raised, conveying, with the new disposition of the legs, a sense of steadfastness, even defiance. In making these changes Rodin may have been responding to criticisms of the second maquette by the committee, who remarked that the burghers' 'defeated postures offend our religious feelings'.5

The Nude study for Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the third in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1973 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. In addition to the life-size nude study, a later reduced version measuring 105 cm in height exists in a similar edition.

Jean de Fiennes was not identified in Jean Froissart's Chronicles and his name only came to light in 1863 when Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove published a manuscript found in the Vatican library naming Jean de Fiennes and Andrieu d'Andres as the two unknown burghers.6 The pose of Jean de Fiennes is little changed from the open-armed, slightly turning attitude established in the second maquette, and is carried through to the final figure with only small refinements. The Nude study of Jean de Fiennes in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1974 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In June 1886 Rodin received further funds from the committee for the development of individual figures for the monument. Edmond de Goncourt, in his journal, reported having seen 'life-size clay studies for the six hostages of Calais' during a visit to Rodin's studio on the afternoon of 17 April 1886.7 Three of the completed figures in plaster were exhibited at the George Petit Gallery in Paris in 1887; two more were exhibited there in 1888, and finally all six were shown in 1889 at the exhibition held jointly with Claude Monet (1840-1926).

The Australian National Gallery has casts of four of the six figures intended for the final monument, Eustache de Saint Pierre, Jean d'Aire, Pierre de Wiessant and Andrieu d'Andres.

In the first maquette of 1884, Eustache de Saint Pierre occupies a prominent position, carrying the keys to the city and pointing dramatically to the English camp. In the second maquette he is still in the front rank of burghers, but here he stoops under the burden of his decision, his arms drooping by his sides. Reviewing the second maquette, the committee particularly objected to 'the despondency shown by Eustache de Saint Pierre'.8 Rodin replied that at best he would be prepared to alter 'the one who is in despair' (Andrieu d'Andres), but not Eustache de Saint Pierre, who 'is the first to descend and for my lines he needs to be like this'.9

For the following studies of Eustache de Saint Pierre Rodin used several models. his friend Jean-Charles Cazin posed for the first nude study of 1886; for a second, made in 1886-87, he probably used Pignatelli, the Italian model he had used for his John the Baptist preaching 1878. Eustache de Saint Pierre in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve and was cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1984 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of this figure, measuring 47.0 cm (18½"), exists, as does an edition of the head.

In the final version of Jean d'Aire, Rodin has placed a massive single key in the hands of the figure, replacing the pillow supporting a number of smaller keys that appeared in the second maquette. The figure of Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the seventh in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974, from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In his Chronicle, Jean Froissart describes Pierre de Wiessant simply as the brother of Jaques de Wiessant, owner of a rich country estate and the fourth burgher to volunteer. In the first maquette of 1884, Rodin has already given him his final gesture, the raised arm. In the second maquette the gesture is refined, and retained in the subsequent nude studies and in the final figure for the monument. One of the nude studies for Pierre di Wiessant, a partial figure missing head and hands, provides interesting evidence of Rodin's method of adding and removing parts. The right hand used for Pierre de Wiessant is also used for Jaques de Wiessant and the same features are used in the heads of Jean d'Aire, Andrieu de Andres and Jaques de Wiessant. The head of Pierre de Wiessant is thought to have been modelled on the features of Coquelin Cadet, a popular comedian of the time. Pierre de Wiessant in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A reduction of this figure was cast and issued in an edition of twelve in 1890. A cast of the head of Pierre de Wiessant was separately issued at much the same time. By 1908 a monumental head was also editioned.

Like Jean de Fiennes, the name of Andrieu d'Andres is not mentioned by Jean Froissart in his Chronicle, but was also uncovered in 1863 by Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove. the first maquette shows Andrieu de Andres already clutching his head in despair, the pose that was singled out for criticism when it reappeared in the second maquette. As with the figures of Jean d'Aire and Jaques de Wiessant, the head of this figure appears to be modelled on Rodin's son Auguste Beuret. The figure of Andrieu d'Andres in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1985 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of the figure was made in about 1890 and also exists in an edition of twelve.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.58.

  1. Paul Gsell, 'Chez Rodin', L'Art et les Artistes, no. 109, April 1914, pp.49-72, cf. pp.67-8: 'Je ne les ai pas groupés en une apothéose triomphante: car une telle glorification de leur héroïsme n'aurait correspondu à rien de réel. Au contraire, je les ai comme égrenés les uns derriere les autres, parce que, dans l'indécision du dernier combat intérieur qui se livre entre leur dévouement à leur cité et leur peur de mourir, chacun d'eux est comme isolé en face de sa conscience. Ils s'interrogent encore pour savoir s'ils auront la force d'accomplir le suprême sacrifice Leur âme les pousse en avant et leurs pieds refusent de marcher. Ils se traînent péniblement, autant à cause de la faiblesse à laquelle les a réduits la famine, qu'à cause de l'épouvante du supplice … Et certainement, si j'ai réussi à montrer combien le corps, même exténué par les plus cruelles souffrances, tient encore à la vie, combien il a encore d'empire sur l'âme éprise de vaillance, je ne puis me féliciter de n'être pas resté au-dessous du noble thème que j'avais à traiter'.
  2. Gsell, op. cit.: 'Je ne voulais aucun piédestal à ces statues. Je souhaitais qu'elles fussent posées, scellées à même les dalles de la place publique, devant l'hôtel de ville de Calais, et qu'elles eussent l'air de partir de là pour se rendre au camp des ennemis. Elles se seraient ainsi trouvées comme mêlées à l'existence quotidienne de la ville: les passants les eussent coudoyées et ils eussent ressenti à ce contact l'émotion du passé vivant au milieu d'eux; ils se fussent dit: "Nos ancêtres sont nos voisins et nos modèles, et le jour où il nous sera donné d'imiter leur exemple, nous devrons montrer que nous n'avons pas dégénéré de leur vertu!" … Mais la commission officielle ne comprit rien aux désirs que j'exprimai. elle me crut fou … Des statues sans piédestal! Où donc cela s'était-il jamais vu. il fallait un piédestal; il n'y avait pas moyen de s'en passer.'
  3. Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 (trans. Geoffrey Brereton), p.107.
  4. Judith Cladel, Rodin, The Man and His Art, New York: Century, 1917 (trans. S.K. Star), p.157.
  5. Mary Jo McNamara, Rodin's Burghers of Calais, New York: Cantor Fitzgerald Group, 1977, p.10.
  6. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal: Mémoires de la vie Littéraire, Paris: Fasquelle, Flammarion, 1959, vol. 3, p.563.
  7. ibid., p.70, for a reprint of the report in its entirety.
  8. Undated letter from Rodin to M. Dewavrin, Musée Rodin, Paris, reprinted in John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, p.383.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | inscribed on upper surface of base, "A Rodin/ No I/IV", and on rear of base, "F C c By Musee Rodin 1985" Purchased 1985 NGA 1985.2006 View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In 1884 the Municipal Council of the town of Calais proposed the erection of a monument to celebrate an act of heroism by its citizens during the Hundred Years War. Calais in 1347 had been besieged by the forces of the English king, Edward III, and after a long and bitter resistance was forced to capitulate. Edwards agreed to spare the city if six of the town's leading citizens would surrender the keys to the city and their lives into his hands. Dressed in sackcloth and wearing nooses around their necks, the six volunteers walked to the English camp and presented themselves to the king. At the intercession of Edward's queen the six hostages were spared.

Rodin was approached with the proposal in September 1884 by the mayor of Calais, M. Omer Dewavrin, and by November 1884 the artist had completed a maquette for the monument. Although the original plan was to represent only one of the burghers, Eustache de Saint Pierre, the eldest burgher and the first to volunteer, Rodin's maquette showed all six burghers. And, rather than portraying the burghers as they confronted the English king, as was customary in earlier depictions of this episode, Rodin chose the moment when they are just setting out to walk to the English camp.

Later he told Paul Gsell:

I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis, such a glorification of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything real. On the contrary, I have, as it were, threaded them one behind the other, because in the indecision of that last inner combat which ensues between their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in front of his conscience. They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacrifice — their soul pushes them onward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrifice … If I have succeeded in showing how much the body, weakened by the most cruel sufferings, still holds on to life, how much power it still has over the spirit that is consumed with bravery, I congratulate myself on not having remained beneath the noble theme I have dealt with.1

The maquette was presented to the committee in January 1885, together with submissions by sculptors Emile François Chatrousse (1829-96) and Laurent-Honoré Marqueste (1848-1920). On 20 January Rodin was notified that he had been selected by the committee and on the 28th a contract was signed between the two parties.

The initial maquette for The burghers of Calais was first cast in bronze in 1970. The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is the ninth of an edition of twelve and was cast by the Goddard Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A variant which includes the pedestal also exists in an edition of twelve bronze casts. The maquette in the Gallery's collection does not include the block-like pedestal that supported the figures when first presented to the Calais committee. This tall base was not developed further however, and was superseded by the more radical idea of placing the figures directly on the ground. Rodin elaborated this startlingly original notion to Paul Gsell:

I did not want a pedestal for these figures. I wanted them to be placed on, even affixed to, the paving stones of the square in front of the town hall in Calais so that it looked as if they were leaving in order to go to the enemy camp. In this way they would have been, as it were, mixed with the daily life of the town: passersby would have elbowed them, and they would have felt through this contact the emotion of the living past in their midst; they would have said to themselves: 'Our ancestors are our neighbours and our models, and the day when it will be granted to us to imitate their example, we would show that we have not degenerated from it ' … But the commissioning body understood nothing of the desires I expressed. They thought I was mad … Statues without a pedestal! Where had that ever been seen before? there must be a pedestal; there was no way of getting around it.2

Ultimately the Burghers were positioned, against Rodin's recommendation, on a pedestal of medium height designed by one of the members of the committee when the monument was finally inaugurated in 1895.

After the initial maquette for The burghers of Calais had been accepted by the committee Rodin began a second maquette, consisting of individual figures, which was displayed in Calais in August 1885. By then he had already started work on nude studies that exist for at least four of the six figures in the monument. In a letter of 14 July 1885 Rodin indicated that preliminary work on the nude studies was complete and that they were ready for enlargement: 'My nudes are done, that is to say the lower layer, and I am going to have them executed definitively, so as not to lose time. You see it is the part that is not seen that is the most important, and it is finished'.3 The Australian National Gallery has two life-size casts of the nude studies, Nude study for Jean d'Aire c.1885-86, and Nude study for Jean de Fiennes c.1885-86.

In the account of the surrender of Calais given in the Chronicles of the fourteenth-century historian Jean Froissart, Jean d'Aire is nominated as the second of the burghers to have offered himself as a hostage: 'Then another greatly respected and wealthy citizen, who had two beautiful daughters, stood up and said that he would go with his friend, master Eustache de St Pierre'.4 In each of the maquettes and in the final monument, Jean d'Aire is appropriately placed beside Eustache de Saint Pierre — to his left in the first and second maquettes, and to his right in the final arrangement.

Although the posture of the nude study for Jean d'Aire is similar to the figure in the second maquette that preceded it, a number of small changes exist and are carried over to the final monument. The position of the legs, once advancing one in front of the other, are here spread apart and immobile. The head, once drooping, is here raised, conveying, with the new disposition of the legs, a sense of steadfastness, even defiance. In making these changes Rodin may have been responding to criticisms of the second maquette by the committee, who remarked that the burghers' 'defeated postures offend our religious feelings'.5

The Nude study for Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the third in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1973 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. In addition to the life-size nude study, a later reduced version measuring 105 cm in height exists in a similar edition.

Jean de Fiennes was not identified in Jean Froissart's Chronicles and his name only came to light in 1863 when Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove published a manuscript found in the Vatican library naming Jean de Fiennes and Andrieu d'Andres as the two unknown burghers.6 The pose of Jean de Fiennes is little changed from the open-armed, slightly turning attitude established in the second maquette, and is carried through to the final figure with only small refinements. The Nude study of Jean de Fiennes in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1974 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In June 1886 Rodin received further funds from the committee for the development of individual figures for the monument. Edmond de Goncourt, in his journal, reported having seen 'life-size clay studies for the six hostages of Calais' during a visit to Rodin's studio on the afternoon of 17 April 1886.7 Three of the completed figures in plaster were exhibited at the George Petit Gallery in Paris in 1887; two more were exhibited there in 1888, and finally all six were shown in 1889 at the exhibition held jointly with Claude Monet (1840-1926).

The Australian National Gallery has casts of four of the six figures intended for the final monument, Eustache de Saint Pierre, Jean d'Aire, Pierre de Wiessant and Andrieu d'Andres.

In the first maquette of 1884, Eustache de Saint Pierre occupies a prominent position, carrying the keys to the city and pointing dramatically to the English camp. In the second maquette he is still in the front rank of burghers, but here he stoops under the burden of his decision, his arms drooping by his sides. Reviewing the second maquette, the committee particularly objected to 'the despondency shown by Eustache de Saint Pierre'.8 Rodin replied that at best he would be prepared to alter 'the one who is in despair' (Andrieu d'Andres), but not Eustache de Saint Pierre, who 'is the first to descend and for my lines he needs to be like this'.9

For the following studies of Eustache de Saint Pierre Rodin used several models. his friend Jean-Charles Cazin posed for the first nude study of 1886; for a second, made in 1886-87, he probably used Pignatelli, the Italian model he had used for his John the Baptist preaching 1878. Eustache de Saint Pierre in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve and was cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1984 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of this figure, measuring 47.0 cm (18½"), exists, as does an edition of the head.

In the final version of Jean d'Aire, Rodin has placed a massive single key in the hands of the figure, replacing the pillow supporting a number of smaller keys that appeared in the second maquette. The figure of Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the seventh in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974, from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In his Chronicle, Jean Froissart describes Pierre de Wiessant simply as the brother of Jaques de Wiessant, owner of a rich country estate and the fourth burgher to volunteer. In the first maquette of 1884, Rodin has already given him his final gesture, the raised arm. In the second maquette the gesture is refined, and retained in the subsequent nude studies and in the final figure for the monument. One of the nude studies for Pierre di Wiessant, a partial figure missing head and hands, provides interesting evidence of Rodin's method of adding and removing parts. The right hand used for Pierre de Wiessant is also used for Jaques de Wiessant and the same features are used in the heads of Jean d'Aire, Andrieu de Andres and Jaques de Wiessant. The head of Pierre de Wiessant is thought to have been modelled on the features of Coquelin Cadet, a popular comedian of the time. Pierre de Wiessant in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A reduction of this figure was cast and issued in an edition of twelve in 1890. A cast of the head of Pierre de Wiessant was separately issued at much the same time. By 1908 a monumental head was also editioned.

Like Jean de Fiennes, the name of Andrieu d'Andres is not mentioned by Jean Froissart in his Chronicle, but was also uncovered in 1863 by Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove. the first maquette shows Andrieu de Andres already clutching his head in despair, the pose that was singled out for criticism when it reappeared in the second maquette. As with the figures of Jean d'Aire and Jaques de Wiessant, the head of this figure appears to be modelled on Rodin's son Auguste Beuret. The figure of Andrieu d'Andres in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1985 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of the figure was made in about 1890 and also exists in an edition of twelve.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.58.

  1. Paul Gsell, 'Chez Rodin', L'Art et les Artistes, no. 109, April 1914, pp.49-72, cf. pp.67-8: 'Je ne les ai pas groupés en une apothéose triomphante: car une telle glorification de leur héroïsme n'aurait correspondu à rien de réel. Au contraire, je les ai comme égrenés les uns derriere les autres, parce que, dans l'indécision du dernier combat intérieur qui se livre entre leur dévouement à leur cité et leur peur de mourir, chacun d'eux est comme isolé en face de sa conscience. Ils s'interrogent encore pour savoir s'ils auront la force d'accomplir le suprême sacrifice Leur âme les pousse en avant et leurs pieds refusent de marcher. Ils se traînent péniblement, autant à cause de la faiblesse à laquelle les a réduits la famine, qu'à cause de l'épouvante du supplice … Et certainement, si j'ai réussi à montrer combien le corps, même exténué par les plus cruelles souffrances, tient encore à la vie, combien il a encore d'empire sur l'âme éprise de vaillance, je ne puis me féliciter de n'être pas resté au-dessous du noble thème que j'avais à traiter'.
  2. Gsell, op. cit.: 'Je ne voulais aucun piédestal à ces statues. Je souhaitais qu'elles fussent posées, scellées à même les dalles de la place publique, devant l'hôtel de ville de Calais, et qu'elles eussent l'air de partir de là pour se rendre au camp des ennemis. Elles se seraient ainsi trouvées comme mêlées à l'existence quotidienne de la ville: les passants les eussent coudoyées et ils eussent ressenti à ce contact l'émotion du passé vivant au milieu d'eux; ils se fussent dit: "Nos ancêtres sont nos voisins et nos modèles, et le jour où il nous sera donné d'imiter leur exemple, nous devrons montrer que nous n'avons pas dégénéré de leur vertu!" … Mais la commission officielle ne comprit rien aux désirs que j'exprimai. elle me crut fou … Des statues sans piédestal! Où donc cela s'était-il jamais vu. il fallait un piédestal; il n'y avait pas moyen de s'en passer.'
  3. Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 (trans. Geoffrey Brereton), p.107.
  4. Judith Cladel, Rodin, The Man and His Art, New York: Century, 1917 (trans. S.K. Star), p.157.
  5. Mary Jo McNamara, Rodin's Burghers of Calais, New York: Cantor Fitzgerald Group, 1977, p.10.
  6. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal: Mémoires de la vie Littéraire, Paris: Fasquelle, Flammarion, 1959, vol. 3, p.563.
  7. ibid., p.70, for a reprint of the report in its entirety.
  8. Undated letter from Rodin to M. Dewavrin, Musée Rodin, Paris, reprinted in John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, p.383.
View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | inscribed upper surface of base, "A Rodin";
on rear of base, "Georges Rudier./ Fondeur. Paris.", and on right-hand side of base, "c by Musee Rodin 1967" Purchased 1974 NGA 1974.380 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In 1884 the Municipal Council of the town of Calais proposed the erection of a monument to celebrate an act of heroism by its citizens during the Hundred Years War. Calais in 1347 had been besieged by the forces of the English king, Edward III, and after a long and bitter resistance was forced to capitulate. Edwards agreed to spare the city if six of the town's leading citizens would surrender the keys to the city and their lives into his hands. Dressed in sackcloth and wearing nooses around their necks, the six volunteers walked to the English camp and presented themselves to the king. At the intercession of Edward's queen the six hostages were spared.

Rodin was approached with the proposal in September 1884 by the mayor of Calais, M. Omer Dewavrin, and by November 1884 the artist had completed a maquette for the monument. Although the original plan was to represent only one of the burghers, Eustache de Saint Pierre, the eldest burgher and the first to volunteer, Rodin's maquette showed all six burghers. And, rather than portraying the burghers as they confronted the English king, as was customary in earlier depictions of this episode, Rodin chose the moment when they are just setting out to walk to the English camp.

Later he told Paul Gsell:

I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis, such a glorification of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything real. On the contrary, I have, as it were, threaded them one behind the other, because in the indecision of that last inner combat which ensues between their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in front of his conscience. They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacrifice — their soul pushes them onward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrifice … If I have succeeded in showing how much the body, weakened by the most cruel sufferings, still holds on to life, how much power it still has over the spirit that is consumed with bravery, I congratulate myself on not having remained beneath the noble theme I have dealt with.1

The maquette was presented to the committee in January 1885, together with submissions by sculptors Emile François Chatrousse (1829-96) and Laurent-Honoré Marqueste (1848-1920). On 20 January Rodin was notified that he had been selected by the committee and on the 28th a contract was signed between the two parties.

The initial maquette for The burghers of Calais was first cast in bronze in 1970. The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is the ninth of an edition of twelve and was cast by the Goddard Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A variant which includes the pedestal also exists in an edition of twelve bronze casts. The maquette in the Gallery's collection does not include the block-like pedestal that supported the figures when first presented to the Calais committee. This tall base was not developed further however, and was superseded by the more radical idea of placing the figures directly on the ground. Rodin elaborated this startlingly original notion to Paul Gsell:

I did not want a pedestal for these figures. I wanted them to be placed on, even affixed to, the paving stones of the square in front of the town hall in Calais so that it looked as if they were leaving in order to go to the enemy camp. In this way they would have been, as it were, mixed with the daily life of the town: passersby would have elbowed them, and they would have felt through this contact the emotion of the living past in their midst; they would have said to themselves: 'Our ancestors are our neighbours and our models, and the day when it will be granted to us to imitate their example, we would show that we have not degenerated from it ' … But the commissioning body understood nothing of the desires I expressed. They thought I was mad … Statues without a pedestal! Where had that ever been seen before? there must be a pedestal; there was no way of getting around it.2

Ultimately the Burghers were positioned, against Rodin's recommendation, on a pedestal of medium height designed by one of the members of the committee when the monument was finally inaugurated in 1895.

After the initial maquette for The burghers of Calais had been accepted by the committee Rodin began a second maquette, consisting of individual figures, which was displayed in Calais in August 1885. By then he had already started work on nude studies that exist for at least four of the six figures in the monument. In a letter of 14 July 1885 Rodin indicated that preliminary work on the nude studies was complete and that they were ready for enlargement: 'My nudes are done, that is to say the lower layer, and I am going to have them executed definitively, so as not to lose time. You see it is the part that is not seen that is the most important, and it is finished'.3 The Australian National Gallery has two life-size casts of the nude studies, Nude study for Jean d'Aire c.1885-86, and Nude study for Jean de Fiennes c.1885-86.

In the account of the surrender of Calais given in the Chronicles of the fourteenth-century historian Jean Froissart, Jean d'Aire is nominated as the second of the burghers to have offered himself as a hostage: 'Then another greatly respected and wealthy citizen, who had two beautiful daughters, stood up and said that he would go with his friend, master Eustache de St Pierre'.4 In each of the maquettes and in the final monument, Jean d'Aire is appropriately placed beside Eustache de Saint Pierre — to his left in the first and second maquettes, and to his right in the final arrangement.

Although the posture of the nude study for Jean d'Aire is similar to the figure in the second maquette that preceded it, a number of small changes exist and are carried over to the final monument. The position of the legs, once advancing one in front of the other, are here spread apart and immobile. The head, once drooping, is here raised, conveying, with the new disposition of the legs, a sense of steadfastness, even defiance. In making these changes Rodin may have been responding to criticisms of the second maquette by the committee, who remarked that the burghers' 'defeated postures offend our religious feelings'.5

The Nude study for Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the third in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1973 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. In addition to the life-size nude study, a later reduced version measuring 105 cm in height exists in a similar edition.

Jean de Fiennes was not identified in Jean Froissart's Chronicles and his name only came to light in 1863 when Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove published a manuscript found in the Vatican library naming Jean de Fiennes and Andrieu d'Andres as the two unknown burghers.6 The pose of Jean de Fiennes is little changed from the open-armed, slightly turning attitude established in the second maquette, and is carried through to the final figure with only small refinements. The Nude study of Jean de Fiennes in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1974 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In June 1886 Rodin received further funds from the committee for the development of individual figures for the monument. Edmond de Goncourt, in his journal, reported having seen 'life-size clay studies for the six hostages of Calais' during a visit to Rodin's studio on the afternoon of 17 April 1886.7 Three of the completed figures in plaster were exhibited at the George Petit Gallery in Paris in 1887; two more were exhibited there in 1888, and finally all six were shown in 1889 at the exhibition held jointly with Claude Monet (1840-1926).

The Australian National Gallery has casts of four of the six figures intended for the final monument, Eustache de Saint Pierre, Jean d'Aire, Pierre de Wiessant and Andrieu d'Andres.

In the first maquette of 1884, Eustache de Saint Pierre occupies a prominent position, carrying the keys to the city and pointing dramatically to the English camp. In the second maquette he is still in the front rank of burghers, but here he stoops under the burden of his decision, his arms drooping by his sides. Reviewing the second maquette, the committee particularly objected to 'the despondency shown by Eustache de Saint Pierre'.8 Rodin replied that at best he would be prepared to alter 'the one who is in despair' (Andrieu d'Andres), but not Eustache de Saint Pierre, who 'is the first to descend and for my lines he needs to be like this'.9

For the following studies of Eustache de Saint Pierre Rodin used several models. his friend Jean-Charles Cazin posed for the first nude study of 1886; for a second, made in 1886-87, he probably used Pignatelli, the Italian model he had used for his John the Baptist preaching 1878. Eustache de Saint Pierre in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve and was cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1984 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of this figure, measuring 47.0 cm (18½"), exists, as does an edition of the head.

In the final version of Jean d'Aire, Rodin has placed a massive single key in the hands of the figure, replacing the pillow supporting a number of smaller keys that appeared in the second maquette. The figure of Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the seventh in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974, from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In his Chronicle, Jean Froissart describes Pierre de Wiessant simply as the brother of Jaques de Wiessant, owner of a rich country estate and the fourth burgher to volunteer. In the first maquette of 1884, Rodin has already given him his final gesture, the raised arm. In the second maquette the gesture is refined, and retained in the subsequent nude studies and in the final figure for the monument. One of the nude studies for Pierre di Wiessant, a partial figure missing head and hands, provides interesting evidence of Rodin's method of adding and removing parts. The right hand used for Pierre de Wiessant is also used for Jaques de Wiessant and the same features are used in the heads of Jean d'Aire, Andrieu de Andres and Jaques de Wiessant. The head of Pierre de Wiessant is thought to have been modelled on the features of Coquelin Cadet, a popular comedian of the time. Pierre de Wiessant in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A reduction of this figure was cast and issued in an edition of twelve in 1890. A cast of the head of Pierre de Wiessant was separately issued at much the same time. By 1908 a monumental head was also editioned.

Like Jean de Fiennes, the name of Andrieu d'Andres is not mentioned by Jean Froissart in his Chronicle, but was also uncovered in 1863 by Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove. the first maquette shows Andrieu de Andres already clutching his head in despair, the pose that was singled out for criticism when it reappeared in the second maquette. As with the figures of Jean d'Aire and Jaques de Wiessant, the head of this figure appears to be modelled on Rodin's son Auguste Beuret. The figure of Andrieu d'Andres in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1985 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of the figure was made in about 1890 and also exists in an edition of twelve.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.58.

  1. Paul Gsell, 'Chez Rodin', L'Art et les Artistes, no. 109, April 1914, pp.49-72, cf. pp.67-8: 'Je ne les ai pas groupés en une apothéose triomphante: car une telle glorification de leur héroïsme n'aurait correspondu à rien de réel. Au contraire, je les ai comme égrenés les uns derriere les autres, parce que, dans l'indécision du dernier combat intérieur qui se livre entre leur dévouement à leur cité et leur peur de mourir, chacun d'eux est comme isolé en face de sa conscience. Ils s'interrogent encore pour savoir s'ils auront la force d'accomplir le suprême sacrifice Leur âme les pousse en avant et leurs pieds refusent de marcher. Ils se traînent péniblement, autant à cause de la faiblesse à laquelle les a réduits la famine, qu'à cause de l'épouvante du supplice … Et certainement, si j'ai réussi à montrer combien le corps, même exténué par les plus cruelles souffrances, tient encore à la vie, combien il a encore d'empire sur l'âme éprise de vaillance, je ne puis me féliciter de n'être pas resté au-dessous du noble thème que j'avais à traiter'.
  2. Gsell, op. cit.: 'Je ne voulais aucun piédestal à ces statues. Je souhaitais qu'elles fussent posées, scellées à même les dalles de la place publique, devant l'hôtel de ville de Calais, et qu'elles eussent l'air de partir de là pour se rendre au camp des ennemis. Elles se seraient ainsi trouvées comme mêlées à l'existence quotidienne de la ville: les passants les eussent coudoyées et ils eussent ressenti à ce contact l'émotion du passé vivant au milieu d'eux; ils se fussent dit: "Nos ancêtres sont nos voisins et nos modèles, et le jour où il nous sera donné d'imiter leur exemple, nous devrons montrer que nous n'avons pas dégénéré de leur vertu!" … Mais la commission officielle ne comprit rien aux désirs que j'exprimai. elle me crut fou … Des statues sans piédestal! Où donc cela s'était-il jamais vu. il fallait un piédestal; il n'y avait pas moyen de s'en passer.'
  3. Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 (trans. Geoffrey Brereton), p.107.
  4. Judith Cladel, Rodin, The Man and His Art, New York: Century, 1917 (trans. S.K. Star), p.157.
  5. Mary Jo McNamara, Rodin's Burghers of Calais, New York: Cantor Fitzgerald Group, 1977, p.10.
  6. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal: Mémoires de la vie Littéraire, Paris: Fasquelle, Flammarion, 1959, vol. 3, p.563.
  7. ibid., p.70, for a reprint of the report in its entirety.
  8. Undated letter from Rodin to M. Dewavrin, Musée Rodin, Paris, reprinted in John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, p.383.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | inscribed on left-hand side of base, "A Rodin/ No 1", on rear of base, "SUSSE FONDEUR, PARIS", and on right-hand side of base, "COPYRIGHT BY MUSEE RODIN 1974" Purchased 1976 NGA 1976.64 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In 1884 the Municipal Council of the town of Calais proposed the erection of a monument to celebrate an act of heroism by its citizens during the Hundred Years War. Calais in 1347 had been besieged by the forces of the English king, Edward III, and after a long and bitter resistance was forced to capitulate. Edwards agreed to spare the city if six of the town's leading citizens would surrender the keys to the city and their lives into his hands. Dressed in sackcloth and wearing nooses around their necks, the six volunteers walked to the English camp and presented themselves to the king. At the intercession of Edward's queen the six hostages were spared.

Rodin was approached with the proposal in September 1884 by the mayor of Calais, M. Omer Dewavrin, and by November 1884 the artist had completed a maquette for the monument. Although the original plan was to represent only one of the burghers, Eustache de Saint Pierre, the eldest burgher and the first to volunteer, Rodin's maquette showed all six burghers. And, rather than portraying the burghers as they confronted the English king, as was customary in earlier depictions of this episode, Rodin chose the moment when they are just setting out to walk to the English camp.

Later he told Paul Gsell:

I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis, such a glorification of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything real. On the contrary, I have, as it were, threaded them one behind the other, because in the indecision of that last inner combat which ensues between their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in front of his conscience. They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacrifice — their soul pushes them onward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrifice … If I have succeeded in showing how much the body, weakened by the most cruel sufferings, still holds on to life, how much power it still has over the spirit that is consumed with bravery, I congratulate myself on not having remained beneath the noble theme I have dealt with.1

The maquette was presented to the committee in January 1885, together with submissions by sculptors Emile François Chatrousse (1829-96) and Laurent-Honoré Marqueste (1848-1920). On 20 January Rodin was notified that he had been selected by the committee and on the 28th a contract was signed between the two parties.

The initial maquette for The burghers of Calais was first cast in bronze in 1970. The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is the ninth of an edition of twelve and was cast by the Goddard Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A variant which includes the pedestal also exists in an edition of twelve bronze casts. The maquette in the Gallery's collection does not include the block-like pedestal that supported the figures when first presented to the Calais committee. This tall base was not developed further however, and was superseded by the more radical idea of placing the figures directly on the ground. Rodin elaborated this startlingly original notion to Paul Gsell:

I did not want a pedestal for these figures. I wanted them to be placed on, even affixed to, the paving stones of the square in front of the town hall in Calais so that it looked as if they were leaving in order to go to the enemy camp. In this way they would have been, as it were, mixed with the daily life of the town: passersby would have elbowed them, and they would have felt through this contact the emotion of the living past in their midst; they would have said to themselves: 'Our ancestors are our neighbours and our models, and the day when it will be granted to us to imitate their example, we would show that we have not degenerated from it ' … But the commissioning body understood nothing of the desires I expressed. They thought I was mad … Statues without a pedestal! Where had that ever been seen before? there must be a pedestal; there was no way of getting around it.2

Ultimately the Burghers were positioned, against Rodin's recommendation, on a pedestal of medium height designed by one of the members of the committee when the monument was finally inaugurated in 1895.

After the initial maquette for The burghers of Calais had been accepted by the committee Rodin began a second maquette, consisting of individual figures, which was displayed in Calais in August 1885. By then he had already started work on nude studies that exist for at least four of the six figures in the monument. In a letter of 14 July 1885 Rodin indicated that preliminary work on the nude studies was complete and that they were ready for enlargement: 'My nudes are done, that is to say the lower layer, and I am going to have them executed definitively, so as not to lose time. You see it is the part that is not seen that is the most important, and it is finished'.3 The Australian National Gallery has two life-size casts of the nude studies, Nude study for Jean d'Aire c.1885-86, and Nude study for Jean de Fiennes c.1885-86.

In the account of the surrender of Calais given in the Chronicles of the fourteenth-century historian Jean Froissart, Jean d'Aire is nominated as the second of the burghers to have offered himself as a hostage: 'Then another greatly respected and wealthy citizen, who had two beautiful daughters, stood up and said that he would go with his friend, master Eustache de St Pierre'.4 In each of the maquettes and in the final monument, Jean d'Aire is appropriately placed beside Eustache de Saint Pierre — to his left in the first and second maquettes, and to his right in the final arrangement.

Although the posture of the nude study for Jean d'Aire is similar to the figure in the second maquette that preceded it, a number of small changes exist and are carried over to the final monument. The position of the legs, once advancing one in front of the other, are here spread apart and immobile. The head, once drooping, is here raised, conveying, with the new disposition of the legs, a sense of steadfastness, even defiance. In making these changes Rodin may have been responding to criticisms of the second maquette by the committee, who remarked that the burghers' 'defeated postures offend our religious feelings'.5

The Nude study for Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the third in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1973 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. In addition to the life-size nude study, a later reduced version measuring 105 cm in height exists in a similar edition.

Jean de Fiennes was not identified in Jean Froissart's Chronicles and his name only came to light in 1863 when Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove published a manuscript found in the Vatican library naming Jean de Fiennes and Andrieu d'Andres as the two unknown burghers.6 The pose of Jean de Fiennes is little changed from the open-armed, slightly turning attitude established in the second maquette, and is carried through to the final figure with only small refinements. The Nude study of Jean de Fiennes in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1974 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In June 1886 Rodin received further funds from the committee for the development of individual figures for the monument. Edmond de Goncourt, in his journal, reported having seen 'life-size clay studies for the six hostages of Calais' during a visit to Rodin's studio on the afternoon of 17 April 1886.7 Three of the completed figures in plaster were exhibited at the George Petit Gallery in Paris in 1887; two more were exhibited there in 1888, and finally all six were shown in 1889 at the exhibition held jointly with Claude Monet (1840-1926).

The Australian National Gallery has casts of four of the six figures intended for the final monument, Eustache de Saint Pierre, Jean d'Aire, Pierre de Wiessant and Andrieu d'Andres.

In the first maquette of 1884, Eustache de Saint Pierre occupies a prominent position, carrying the keys to the city and pointing dramatically to the English camp. In the second maquette he is still in the front rank of burghers, but here he stoops under the burden of his decision, his arms drooping by his sides. Reviewing the second maquette, the committee particularly objected to 'the despondency shown by Eustache de Saint Pierre'.8 Rodin replied that at best he would be prepared to alter 'the one who is in despair' (Andrieu d'Andres), but not Eustache de Saint Pierre, who 'is the first to descend and for my lines he needs to be like this'.9

For the following studies of Eustache de Saint Pierre Rodin used several models. his friend Jean-Charles Cazin posed for the first nude study of 1886; for a second, made in 1886-87, he probably used Pignatelli, the Italian model he had used for his John the Baptist preaching 1878. Eustache de Saint Pierre in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve and was cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1984 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of this figure, measuring 47.0 cm (18½"), exists, as does an edition of the head.

In the final version of Jean d'Aire, Rodin has placed a massive single key in the hands of the figure, replacing the pillow supporting a number of smaller keys that appeared in the second maquette. The figure of Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the seventh in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974, from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In his Chronicle, Jean Froissart describes Pierre de Wiessant simply as the brother of Jaques de Wiessant, owner of a rich country estate and the fourth burgher to volunteer. In the first maquette of 1884, Rodin has already given him his final gesture, the raised arm. In the second maquette the gesture is refined, and retained in the subsequent nude studies and in the final figure for the monument. One of the nude studies for Pierre di Wiessant, a partial figure missing head and hands, provides interesting evidence of Rodin's method of adding and removing parts. The right hand used for Pierre de Wiessant is also used for Jaques de Wiessant and the same features are used in the heads of Jean d'Aire, Andrieu de Andres and Jaques de Wiessant. The head of Pierre de Wiessant is thought to have been modelled on the features of Coquelin Cadet, a popular comedian of the time. Pierre de Wiessant in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A reduction of this figure was cast and issued in an edition of twelve in 1890. A cast of the head of Pierre de Wiessant was separately issued at much the same time. By 1908 a monumental head was also editioned.

Like Jean de Fiennes, the name of Andrieu d'Andres is not mentioned by Jean Froissart in his Chronicle, but was also uncovered in 1863 by Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove. the first maquette shows Andrieu de Andres already clutching his head in despair, the pose that was singled out for criticism when it reappeared in the second maquette. As with the figures of Jean d'Aire and Jaques de Wiessant, the head of this figure appears to be modelled on Rodin's son Auguste Beuret. The figure of Andrieu d'Andres in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1985 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of the figure was made in about 1890 and also exists in an edition of twelve.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.58.

  1. Paul Gsell, 'Chez Rodin', L'Art et les Artistes, no. 109, April 1914, pp.49-72, cf. pp.67-8: 'Je ne les ai pas groupés en une apothéose triomphante: car une telle glorification de leur héroïsme n'aurait correspondu à rien de réel. Au contraire, je les ai comme égrenés les uns derriere les autres, parce que, dans l'indécision du dernier combat intérieur qui se livre entre leur dévouement à leur cité et leur peur de mourir, chacun d'eux est comme isolé en face de sa conscience. Ils s'interrogent encore pour savoir s'ils auront la force d'accomplir le suprême sacrifice Leur âme les pousse en avant et leurs pieds refusent de marcher. Ils se traînent péniblement, autant à cause de la faiblesse à laquelle les a réduits la famine, qu'à cause de l'épouvante du supplice … Et certainement, si j'ai réussi à montrer combien le corps, même exténué par les plus cruelles souffrances, tient encore à la vie, combien il a encore d'empire sur l'âme éprise de vaillance, je ne puis me féliciter de n'être pas resté au-dessous du noble thème que j'avais à traiter'.
  2. Gsell, op. cit.: 'Je ne voulais aucun piédestal à ces statues. Je souhaitais qu'elles fussent posées, scellées à même les dalles de la place publique, devant l'hôtel de ville de Calais, et qu'elles eussent l'air de partir de là pour se rendre au camp des ennemis. Elles se seraient ainsi trouvées comme mêlées à l'existence quotidienne de la ville: les passants les eussent coudoyées et ils eussent ressenti à ce contact l'émotion du passé vivant au milieu d'eux; ils se fussent dit: "Nos ancêtres sont nos voisins et nos modèles, et le jour où il nous sera donné d'imiter leur exemple, nous devrons montrer que nous n'avons pas dégénéré de leur vertu!" … Mais la commission officielle ne comprit rien aux désirs que j'exprimai. elle me crut fou … Des statues sans piédestal! Où donc cela s'était-il jamais vu. il fallait un piédestal; il n'y avait pas moyen de s'en passer.'
  3. Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 (trans. Geoffrey Brereton), p.107.
  4. Judith Cladel, Rodin, The Man and His Art, New York: Century, 1917 (trans. S.K. Star), p.157.
  5. Mary Jo McNamara, Rodin's Burghers of Calais, New York: Cantor Fitzgerald Group, 1977, p.10.
  6. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal: Mémoires de la vie Littéraire, Paris: Fasquelle, Flammarion, 1959, vol. 3, p.563.
  7. ibid., p.70, for a reprint of the report in its entirety.
  8. Undated letter from Rodin to M. Dewavrin, Musée Rodin, Paris, reprinted in John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, p.383.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | inscribed on right side of base, "A. Rodin/ No 7", on rear of base, "SUSSE FONDEUR. Paris", and on left side of base, "COPYRIGHT BY MUSEE RODIN 1973" Purchased 1974 NGA 1974.382 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | Discussion of the work

In 1884 the Municipal Council of the town of Calais proposed the erection of a monument to celebrate an act of heroism by its citizens during the Hundred Years War. Calais in 1347 had been besieged by the forces of the English king, Edward III, and after a long and bitter resistance was forced to capitulate. Edwards agreed to spare the city if six of the town's leading citizens would surrender the keys to the city and their lives into his hands. Dressed in sackcloth and wearing nooses around their necks, the six volunteers walked to the English camp and presented themselves to the king. At the intercession of Edward's queen the six hostages were spared.

Rodin was approached with the proposal in September 1884 by the mayor of Calais, M. Omer Dewavrin, and by November 1884 the artist had completed a maquette for the monument. Although the original plan was to represent only one of the burghers, Eustache de Saint Pierre, the eldest burgher and the first to volunteer, Rodin's maquette showed all six burghers. And, rather than portraying the burghers as they confronted the English king, as was customary in earlier depictions of this episode, Rodin chose the moment when they are just setting out to walk to the English camp.

Later he told Paul Gsell:

I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis, such a glorification of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything real. On the contrary, I have, as it were, threaded them one behind the other, because in the indecision of that last inner combat which ensues between their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in front of his conscience. They are still questioning themselves to know if they have the strength to accomplish the supreme sacrifice — their soul pushes them onward, but their feet refuse to walk. They drag themselves along painfully, as much because of the feebleness to which famine has reduced them as because of the terrifying nature of the sacrifice … If I have succeeded in showing how much the body, weakened by the most cruel sufferings, still holds on to life, how much power it still has over the spirit that is consumed with bravery, I congratulate myself on not having remained beneath the noble theme I have dealt with.1

The maquette was presented to the committee in January 1885, together with submissions by sculptors Emile François Chatrousse (1829-96) and Laurent-Honoré Marqueste (1848-1920). On 20 January Rodin was notified that he had been selected by the committee and on the 28th a contract was signed between the two parties.

The initial maquette for The burghers of Calais was first cast in bronze in 1970. The example in the Australian National Gallery's collection is the ninth of an edition of twelve and was cast by the Goddard Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A variant which includes the pedestal also exists in an edition of twelve bronze casts. The maquette in the Gallery's collection does not include the block-like pedestal that supported the figures when first presented to the Calais committee. This tall base was not developed further however, and was superseded by the more radical idea of placing the figures directly on the ground. Rodin elaborated this startlingly original notion to Paul Gsell:

I did not want a pedestal for these figures. I wanted them to be placed on, even affixed to, the paving stones of the square in front of the town hall in Calais so that it looked as if they were leaving in order to go to the enemy camp. In this way they would have been, as it were, mixed with the daily life of the town: passersby would have elbowed them, and they would have felt through this contact the emotion of the living past in their midst; they would have said to themselves: 'Our ancestors are our neighbours and our models, and the day when it will be granted to us to imitate their example, we would show that we have not degenerated from it ' … But the commissioning body understood nothing of the desires I expressed. They thought I was mad … Statues without a pedestal! Where had that ever been seen before? there must be a pedestal; there was no way of getting around it.2

Ultimately the Burghers were positioned, against Rodin's recommendation, on a pedestal of medium height designed by one of the members of the committee when the monument was finally inaugurated in 1895.

After the initial maquette for The burghers of Calais had been accepted by the committee Rodin began a second maquette, consisting of individual figures, which was displayed in Calais in August 1885. By then he had already started work on nude studies that exist for at least four of the six figures in the monument. In a letter of 14 July 1885 Rodin indicated that preliminary work on the nude studies was complete and that they were ready for enlargement: 'My nudes are done, that is to say the lower layer, and I am going to have them executed definitively, so as not to lose time. You see it is the part that is not seen that is the most important, and it is finished'.3 The Australian National Gallery has two life-size casts of the nude studies, Nude study for Jean d'Aire c.1885-86, and Nude study for Jean de Fiennes c.1885-86.

In the account of the surrender of Calais given in the Chronicles of the fourteenth-century historian Jean Froissart, Jean d'Aire is nominated as the second of the burghers to have offered himself as a hostage: 'Then another greatly respected and wealthy citizen, who had two beautiful daughters, stood up and said that he would go with his friend, master Eustache de St Pierre'.4 In each of the maquettes and in the final monument, Jean d'Aire is appropriately placed beside Eustache de Saint Pierre — to his left in the first and second maquettes, and to his right in the final arrangement.

Although the posture of the nude study for Jean d'Aire is similar to the figure in the second maquette that preceded it, a number of small changes exist and are carried over to the final monument. The position of the legs, once advancing one in front of the other, are here spread apart and immobile. The head, once drooping, is here raised, conveying, with the new disposition of the legs, a sense of steadfastness, even defiance. In making these changes Rodin may have been responding to criticisms of the second maquette by the committee, who remarked that the burghers' 'defeated postures offend our religious feelings'.5

The Nude study for Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the third in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1973 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. In addition to the life-size nude study, a later reduced version measuring 105 cm in height exists in a similar edition.

Jean de Fiennes was not identified in Jean Froissart's Chronicles and his name only came to light in 1863 when Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove published a manuscript found in the Vatican library naming Jean de Fiennes and Andrieu d'Andres as the two unknown burghers.6 The pose of Jean de Fiennes is little changed from the open-armed, slightly turning attitude established in the second maquette, and is carried through to the final figure with only small refinements. The Nude study of Jean de Fiennes in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris, in 1974 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In June 1886 Rodin received further funds from the committee for the development of individual figures for the monument. Edmond de Goncourt, in his journal, reported having seen 'life-size clay studies for the six hostages of Calais' during a visit to Rodin's studio on the afternoon of 17 April 1886.7 Three of the completed figures in plaster were exhibited at the George Petit Gallery in Paris in 1887; two more were exhibited there in 1888, and finally all six were shown in 1889 at the exhibition held jointly with Claude Monet (1840-1926).

The Australian National Gallery has casts of four of the six figures intended for the final monument, Eustache de Saint Pierre, Jean d'Aire, Pierre de Wiessant and Andrieu d'Andres.

In the first maquette of 1884, Eustache de Saint Pierre occupies a prominent position, carrying the keys to the city and pointing dramatically to the English camp. In the second maquette he is still in the front rank of burghers, but here he stoops under the burden of his decision, his arms drooping by his sides. Reviewing the second maquette, the committee particularly objected to 'the despondency shown by Eustache de Saint Pierre'.8 Rodin replied that at best he would be prepared to alter 'the one who is in despair' (Andrieu d'Andres), but not Eustache de Saint Pierre, who 'is the first to descend and for my lines he needs to be like this'.9

For the following studies of Eustache de Saint Pierre Rodin used several models. his friend Jean-Charles Cazin posed for the first nude study of 1886; for a second, made in 1886-87, he probably used Pignatelli, the Italian model he had used for his John the Baptist preaching 1878. Eustache de Saint Pierre in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve and was cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1984 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of this figure, measuring 47.0 cm (18½"), exists, as does an edition of the head.

In the final version of Jean d'Aire, Rodin has placed a massive single key in the hands of the figure, replacing the pillow supporting a number of smaller keys that appeared in the second maquette. The figure of Jean d'Aire in the Gallery's collection is the seventh in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974, from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

In his Chronicle, Jean Froissart describes Pierre de Wiessant simply as the brother of Jaques de Wiessant, owner of a rich country estate and the fourth burgher to volunteer. In the first maquette of 1884, Rodin has already given him his final gesture, the raised arm. In the second maquette the gesture is refined, and retained in the subsequent nude studies and in the final figure for the monument. One of the nude studies for Pierre di Wiessant, a partial figure missing head and hands, provides interesting evidence of Rodin's method of adding and removing parts. The right hand used for Pierre de Wiessant is also used for Jaques de Wiessant and the same features are used in the heads of Jean d'Aire, Andrieu de Andres and Jaques de Wiessant. The head of Pierre de Wiessant is thought to have been modelled on the features of Coquelin Cadet, a popular comedian of the time. Pierre de Wiessant in the Gallery's collection is the first in an edition of twelve and was cast by the Susse Foundry, Paris, in 1974. A reduction of this figure was cast and issued in an edition of twelve in 1890. A cast of the head of Pierre de Wiessant was separately issued at much the same time. By 1908 a monumental head was also editioned.

Like Jean de Fiennes, the name of Andrieu d'Andres is not mentioned by Jean Froissart in his Chronicle, but was also uncovered in 1863 by Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove. the first maquette shows Andrieu de Andres already clutching his head in despair, the pose that was singled out for criticism when it reappeared in the second maquette. As with the figures of Jean d'Aire and Jaques de Wiessant, the head of this figure appears to be modelled on Rodin's son Auguste Beuret. The figure of Andrieu d'Andres in the Gallery's collection is the first of four casts reserved for museums from an edition of twelve cast by the Courbertin Foundry, Paris, in 1985 from the plaster in the Musée Rodin, Paris. A reduction of the figure was made in about 1890 and also exists in an edition of twelve.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.58.

  1. Paul Gsell, 'Chez Rodin', L'Art et les Artistes, no. 109, April 1914, pp.49-72, cf. pp.67-8: 'Je ne les ai pas groupés en une apothéose triomphante: car une telle glorification de leur héroïsme n'aurait correspondu à rien de réel. Au contraire, je les ai comme égrenés les uns derriere les autres, parce que, dans l'indécision du dernier combat intérieur qui se livre entre leur dévouement à leur cité et leur peur de mourir, chacun d'eux est comme isolé en face de sa conscience. Ils s'interrogent encore pour savoir s'ils auront la force d'accomplir le suprême sacrifice Leur âme les pousse en avant et leurs pieds refusent de marcher. Ils se traînent péniblement, autant à cause de la faiblesse à laquelle les a réduits la famine, qu'à cause de l'épouvante du supplice … Et certainement, si j'ai réussi à montrer combien le corps, même exténué par les plus cruelles souffrances, tient encore à la vie, combien il a encore d'empire sur l'âme éprise de vaillance, je ne puis me féliciter de n'être pas resté au-dessous du noble thème que j'avais à traiter'.
  2. Gsell, op. cit.: 'Je ne voulais aucun piédestal à ces statues. Je souhaitais qu'elles fussent posées, scellées à même les dalles de la place publique, devant l'hôtel de ville de Calais, et qu'elles eussent l'air de partir de là pour se rendre au camp des ennemis. Elles se seraient ainsi trouvées comme mêlées à l'existence quotidienne de la ville: les passants les eussent coudoyées et ils eussent ressenti à ce contact l'émotion du passé vivant au milieu d'eux; ils se fussent dit: "Nos ancêtres sont nos voisins et nos modèles, et le jour où il nous sera donné d'imiter leur exemple, nous devrons montrer que nous n'avons pas dégénéré de leur vertu!" … Mais la commission officielle ne comprit rien aux désirs que j'exprimai. elle me crut fou … Des statues sans piédestal! Où donc cela s'était-il jamais vu. il fallait un piédestal; il n'y avait pas moyen de s'en passer.'
  3. Jean Froissart, Chronicles, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 (trans. Geoffrey Brereton), p.107.
  4. Judith Cladel, Rodin, The Man and His Art, New York: Century, 1917 (trans. S.K. Star), p.157.
  5. Mary Jo McNamara, Rodin's Burghers of Calais, New York: Cantor Fitzgerald Group, 1977, p.10.
  6. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal: Mémoires de la vie Littéraire, Paris: Fasquelle, Flammarion, 1959, vol. 3, p.563.
  7. ibid., p.70, for a reprint of the report in its entirety.
  8. Undated letter from Rodin to M. Dewavrin, Musée Rodin, Paris, reprinted in John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, p.383.
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Discussion | inscribed centre of base, "A Rodin / No. 9, and left of base, "c by Musee Rodin 1972" Gift of Tony Gilbert 1998 NGA 1998.206 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1983 NGA 1983.53 Provenance signed and dated verso u.l., charcoal, "E. Ruda / 71" Purchased 1974 NGA 1974.204 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | not signed, not dated Purchased 1974 NGA 1974.386 © Joel Shapiro. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

Shapiro's early work is particularly critical of, and dependent on, the relationship between the spectator, the work of art, and the context of the public gallery space. Whilst Untitled (chair) 1974 is a unique piece, an editioned version of the chair of the same small scale has facilitated general discussion of the work and its relationship to similarly conceptualised objects by the artist.

The placement of Untitled (chair) directly on the gallery floor is crucial for the desired effect which dismantles the usual barriers, such as a plinth or rope, that artificially separate the spectator and work in a gallery. At first the object is easily overlooked or swamped by the surrounding expanse of floor space, at odds with the usual points of reference, the height of the human figure and size of an ordinary chair. A perceptual paradox is established whereby the diminutive scale of the work enforces a physical distance, yet for the spectator there is an inherent familiarity with the object that allows it defiantly to occupy the space shared by it and the spectator. 'Our bodies and our experiences become condensed. The chair evokes physical memory', Shapiro explained in retrospect, 'there was no need to make it any bigger. The scale of a piece is its viability in that size, not the size itself. Viability has to do with the fact that it functions as a sculpture.'

In the context of the National Gallery of Australia's collection, small-scale works such as Shapiro's Untitled (chair), Michael Hurson's Hallway 1972 and Ken Price's Untitled (1979) present a critical commentary on the monumental sculpture by the Australian-born American sculptor Clement Meadmore Virginia 1970 and Mark di Suvero's Ik ook 1971-72.

Steven Tonkin

  1. see; Rosalind Krauss, 'Joel Shapiro', in Joel Shapiro, Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art 1976, pp.3-12; or more recently, Hendel Teicher; with an introductory essay by Michael Brenson, Joel Shapiro: Sculpture and Drawings, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1998
  2. Joel Shapiro interviewed by Richard Marshall, May 1982, transcribed in Joel Shapiro, 'Commentaries', in Joel Shapiro, New York: Whitney Museum of American Art 1982, p.96
View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Discussion | Other Works signed right side of prow, incised, "R Stackhouse", not dated Purchased 1983 NGA 1984.840 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Other Works Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1997 NGA 1997.660.A-C Provenance signed, blue ink, certificate of authenticity Purchased 2003 NGA 2003.420 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1974 NGA 1974.388.1-5 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | not signed, not dated Purchased 1995 NGA 1995.915 © Bill Viola Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.4567 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.4569 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.4568 Provenance signed and dated verso l.l. vertically, ink, "Daniel Dezeuze 77" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2517 © Daniel Dezeuze. Licensed by ADAGP & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1986 NGA 1986.1767 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Discussion of the work

The Hunter with his dog was commissioned by the Duc de Gramont for his Château de Vallières, Paris, in 1898. It was to have been a 3-metre high marble statue and was intended to decorate the central stairwell of the château. Dalou had undertaken a commission for the Duc de Gramont six years earlier, creating Les Epousailles (The Nuptials) 1892, in marble for the garden. Hunter with his dog was never developed beyond the sketch, howver, as Dalou's health deteriorated and he was unable to carry out further work on this project.

The sketch is clearly inspired by the antique statue of Diana the huntress, of which a seventeenth-century copy by Martin Desjardins (1640-94) was locaetd in the grounds of Verasailles. A School of Fontainbebleau painting derived from the same soruce also graced the Louvre at that time. The sketch remained with the Gramont family who authorised an edition in bronze in about 1898. This was cast in an edition of ten by the Hébrard Foundry, Paris.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.52.

View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board NGA 1964.52.A-B Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.1519 Provenance not signed, not dated;
title obverse relief "FAUSTINA RO.O.P.", reverse relief "SI IOVI.QVID HOMINI" Purchased 1987 NGA 1987.352 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

The subject of the medal, Faustina the Roman, has been identified as 'a courtesan celebrated by Joachim du Bellay, who was in Rome from 1553 to 1558, and possibly identical with the Faustina who excited the passion of Brantôme.' The legend may be completed as Favstina ro(mana) o(mnium) p(ulcherrima), or the Roman Faustina, of every beauty. Her portrait bust is in the classical antique style: left profile, drapery, hairstyle and jewellery - earrings, necklace and hair fillet.

The reverse depicts the Greek myth of Leda and the swan. Leda is the wife of the king of Sparta, who is seduced (or raped) by Zeus in the guise of a swan; from their union is born Helen of Troy. The Roman name for Zeus was Jupiter or Jove. The legend si Iovi.quid homini implies if Jove does this, what of men? The theme was a common one for Renaissance artists. Abondio takes advantage of the tondo format by accentuating the curve of the swan's wings, and repeats the rhythmical bend of the swan's neck in Leda's limbs.

Christine Dixon

  1. A. Blanchet, 'Une Faustine à Rome au milieu du XVIe siècle' in Arethuse, fasc. 7 (1925) pp.41-49, quoted in Hill and Pollard p.89. Du Bellay, 1522-1560, the French poet, was in Rome at this time serving his cousin Cardinal du Bellay; the Seigneur de Brantôme (Pierre de Bourdeille) 1540?-1614 was a French courtier, soldier and memoirist.
View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2179 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2115 View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | Discussion of the work

Hill - deck (1978) is representative of the finally crafted painted wooden sculptures that McKeown produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Hill - deck is mounted on the gallery wall and projects out, sloping downward at a 45° angle, which from a frontal viewpoint makes the work appear deceptively solid. The gentle curve of the 'hill' has been constructed like a deck, as the title suggests, whereby the thin gaps between the miniature wooden boards appear as metaphorical geographic contour lines.

The viewer's attention is drawn to a small 'man-made' structure that punctuates the slope of the 'hill', its toylike associations a means of exploring childhood memories. Hill - deck can be seen to articulate concerns similar to the near-contemporary sculpture of Joel Shapiro and in particular his 'houses', such as Untitled 1975-76 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York).

Hill - deck complements other small-scale works in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. These include Michael Hurson's Hallway 1972, Shapiro's Untitled (chair) 1974 and Ken Price's Untitled (1979), which present a critique of the monumental Modernist sculpture as represented, for example, by Mark di Suvero's Ik ook 1971-72.

Steven Tonkin

View: Previous | Provenance | Discussion | not signed, not dated Purchased 1979 NGA 1980.4565 Provenance signed, dated and inscribed, verso u.l., synthetic polymer paint "JAMES DOOLIN / Los Angeles / 1969 # 10" Gift of Chandler Coventry 1970 NGA 1970.193 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.1518 Provenance signed verso u.r., black oil, "Bosman", not dated Purchased 1983 NGA 1983.3702 Provenance not signed, not dated Gift of Lady Drysdale 1984 NGA 1984.1256 Provenance signed verso u.r., black oil, "Bosman", not dated Purchased 1983 NGA 1983.3703 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1976 NGA 1976.990 © Vladimir Tatlin. Licensed by RAO, Moscow & VISCOPY, Australia Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2518 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.2745 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Literature | Other Works signed and dated verso c., ballpoint pen, "B. JOUBERT / 1980" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2519 Provenance signed and dated, verso c., ballpoint pen, "B. Joubert / 1980" Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.2522 Provenance Gift of the Philip Morris Arts Grant 1988 NGA 1988.89 not signed, not dated Purchased 1977 NGA 1978.387 View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Other Works Provenance View: Previous | Provenance | Exhibitions | Other Works not signed, not dated. Purchased 1976 NGA 1976.1320AB Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.984 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.985 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1980 NGA 1980.982 Provenance not signed, not dated, title obverse relief, "PETRI BEMBI CAR" Purchased 1988 NGA 1988.1955 View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works Discussion of the work

The subject of the medal, Cardinal Pietro Bembo, was born in Venice in 1470 and is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the world of Italian literature during the Renaissance. He edited the works of Petrarch and Dante, insisted on the classics as contemporary models, and helped ensure Tuscan became the standard language for Italian letters. Bembo appears as a character in Castiglione's celebrated treatise on ideal courtly behaviour, Il Cortegiano [The Courtier]. His own works include verse in Latin and Italian, as well as a history of Venice and a celebration of Platonic love, Gli Asolani [The Asolans]. Secretary to Pope Leo X, he was promoted to cardinal in 1538 by Pope Paul III. His portrait was painted by Raphael and Titian, amongst others. Bembo died in Rome in 1547.

The reverse shows the fabulous winged horse Pegasus striking the earth on Mount Helicon with his hoof; the fountain Hippocrene gushes forth. Sacred to the Muses, the spring was associated with poetry and literature, and was thus appropriate for the writer and humanist Bembo.

Cellini has been attributed with the Bembo medal because, as Graham Pollard notes, 'he modelled Cardinal Bembo in 1537, in preparation for a struck medal, but there is no documentary evidence for his having cast a medal of Bembo.' In Cellini's long and boastful autobiography, he recounts the occasion in 1537 when he stayed with Bembo in Padua, when his host

began to hint in very modest terms that he should greatly like me to take his portrait. I, who desired nothing in the world more, prepared some snow-white plaster in a little box, and set to work at once. The first day I spent two hours on end at my modelling, and blocked out the fine head of that eminent man with so much grace of manner that his lordship was fairly astonished . . . since he wore his beard short in the Venetian fashion, I had great trouble in modelling a head to my own satisfaction. However, I finished it, and judged it about the finest specimen I had produced . . . he implored me at least to design the reverse for his medal, which was to be a Pegasus encircled with a wreath of myrtle.

Cellini left for France, seemingly without the medal being struck or cast.

In the existing medal, Bembo's beard is long rather than short, and Pegasus is on Mount Helicon, without the myrtle. Some writers argue that Cellini made the work in about 1539, a modified version based on the earlier model. It must have been made in or after 1538, as Bembo is shown wearing a cardinal's hooded robe, and is titled 'CAR[dinalis]'. Other scholars disagree that Cellini was the artist. It is accepted as Cellini's in the catalogue raisonné of his work published in 1981, and disputed in the catalogue for the exhibition Currency of Fame in 1994.

Christine Dixon

View: Previous | Provenance | Literature | Discussion | Other Works signed and dated reverse support u.l., fibre tipped pen, "Libero / Concordia 1983" Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.1934 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1981 NGA 1981.1243 Provenance not signed, not dated Purchased 1984 NGA 1984.723 View: Previous |