Untitled (Maquette for Eppur Si Muove)

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Joseph Lazzini, Marseille (gifted directly by the artist)
    Digard, Paris, 26 November 2007, Lot 67
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Munich, Galerie Thomas, Alexander Calder - Joan Miró, May – July 2010, pp. 8-9 (illustrated)
    Paris, Galerie Patrick Seguin, Calder|Prouvé, 24 October - 7 December 2013, pp. 140-141, 142-143, 182 (illustrated)
    Paris, Gagosian, Group Show, 23 January - 19 February 2014
    Salzburg, Galerie Thomas Salis, Alexander Calder: Colour & Motion, 28 July - 31 August, 2018

  • Catalogue Essay

    Untitled (Maquette for Eppur Si Muove) was made by Alexander Calder in 1968, and perfectly encapsulates his ingenuity in form and colour. This work, with its personal dedication from the artist to the dancer and choreographer Jo Lazzini, with whom he collaborated on a number of projects at the time, is a testament to Calder’s ability to create sculptures that appear deceptively simple, yet which function on a number of levels. In the case of Untitled, this is evident just in walking around the work. Unlike a painting, this is emphatically three-dimensional. Indeed, considering it comprises planes decorated with only four colours, it is necessary for the viewer to circumnavigate Untitled in order to appreciate the different combinations incorporated into its composition.

    By the time Calder made Untitled, he was one of the most recognised artists working in the world, having enjoyed a number of international exhibitions and with his sculptures already incorporated in prominent museum collections. He spent a large amount of time in France, where he had a studio, as well as his native United States of America. While rising to prominence during the age of Surrealism before the Second World War, he had managed to finesse a visual language that saw him appealing to generations of subsequent artists, not least the Abstract Expressionists who dominated the American art scene in the 1940s and 1950s. The rigour of Untitled and its emphasis on colour, as well as its vertical thrust, mean that it echoes the works of Clyfford Still and Barnett Newman. Yet Untitled also reveals Calder’s affinity with to one of his great painter friends, Piet Mondrian, in its use of pure blocks of black, white and prime colours. 'My entrance into the field of abstract art came about as a result of a visit to the studio of Piet Mondrian in Paris in 1930,’ Calder would recall. 'I was particularly impressed by some rectangles of colour he had tacked on his wall in a pattern after his nature' (Calder, quoted in C. Giménez & A.S.C. Rower (ed.), Calder: Gravity and Grace, London, 2004, p. 52.) Notably, it was the studio's environment-as-installation, not the Dutch artist's paintings, that impressed Calder.

    Contrasting with his Mobiles, the moving sculptures often hung from the ceiling and named by Duchamp, Calder’s Stabiles—whose name was suggested by Hans Arp—are rooted to a surface. They are still. Yet this does not prevent their containing visual excitement and stimulation: Untitled reveals the extent to which Calder was able to fill his works with motion, even when they had no moving parts. In the case of Untitled, it is the viewer’s movements that unlock its incredible dynamism. While the sculpture comprises only two intersecting planar forms, Calder’s use of colour dictates that only two colours are visible at any one time—yet in a range of combinations. The work can appear white and yellow from one side, red and black from another, black and white or yellow and red. These are all strong, lively colours, adding to the visual drama that Calder manages to concentrate into the work with such seeming ease. Meanwhile, there is a visual contrast between the forms themselves: one is essentially a triangle, while the other is a tapering mass of simple lines and curves. The juxtaposition of these elements is underscored by the colours themselves. Standing about a foot tall, Untitled manages to compress visual fireworks on a domestic, even intimate scale.

    Untitled features a dedication to the dancer and choreographer Joseph Lazzini, who was born in Nice and became the director of the Ballet National de Marseille between 1959-1968. It was while he was in that role that Lazzini collaborated with Calder, enlisting him to create the sets for a ballet, Eppur si muove, in 1965. This ballet, choreographed by Lazzini himself, took its name from a famous phrase attributed to Galileo Galilei: ‘And yet it moves.’ This was clearly an apt theme for Calder, the inventor of the Mobile. In 1969, Calder would collaborate with Lazzini again, this time designing the sets and costumes for Métaboles, which featured a score by Henri Dutilleux. Calder even designed a poster on the occasion. The dedication to Lazzini on Untitled is a tribute to their relationship.

    For both Eppur si muove and Métaboles, Calder created sets that featured Mobiles hanging above the dancers. It was in 1968, however, the very year that Untitled was made, that Calder was able to oversee his own ballet project. For Work in Progress, Calder created a production that featured his own works moving, accompanied by music. Having begun preparing it the previous year, Work in Progress would enjoy its debut in the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome in March. In lieu of dancers, it featured sculptures by Calder, as well as roving bicyclists and other smatterings of human presence. In some cases, these were the people pulling giant Mobiles into place on the stage. Calder appears to have revelled in the opportunity to present his vision on this vast scale. Calder deftly made use of colour and light in order to harness a sense of visual drama. Looking at Untitled, the viewer can appreciate how he was able to do this even on a more human scale, and without recourse to actual movement.

  • Catalogue Essay

    亞歷山大・考爾德的《無題 (為伽利略的星空所作之模型)》創作於1968年,完美展現了他對於色彩饒富趣味的鍾愛。本件雕塑是考爾德為知名舞者及編舞家喬瑟夫・拉辛尼獻上個人致敬特地打造的作品,他們兩人曾數度跨界合作,此作亦盡顯了考爾德能創作出看似極至簡單的雕塑,實際上卻在視覺上具有多層次效果的功力。以《無題》來說,只要繞著它走一圈便能領略其中奧妙;它顯然與繪畫不同,是以三維呈現。事實上,若考量到它所有的切面其實僅用了四種顏色來裝飾,觀者的確需要環繞著此件《無題》才能全然欣賞到整體構圖裡所涵括的每種不同組合。

    在創作《無題》時,考爾德已是享譽國際的藝術家,受邀參加了許多國際展覽,而他的雕塑作品也已廣為重要美術館收藏。他大部分的時間都在法國的工作室,也不少時間在他的故鄉美國。在二次世界大戰爆發前,他在超現實主義領域的地位日趨顯耀,其獨特的藝術語言深深吸引並影響了許多新一代的藝術家,其中不乏在美國1940至1950年代叱吒風雲的抽象表現主義藝術家們。《無題》嚴謹的造型、對於色彩的強調,以及直立的態勢,呼應了克萊弗・史提爾及邦尼特・紐曼的作品。然而,《無題》在使用了黑、白及其他三原色的同時,也揭示了考爾德的摯友皮耶・蒙德里安對他的持續影響。「我進入抽象藝術的領域其實是從1930年造訪皮耶・蒙德里安的工作室所使然。」他曾憶到,「印象特別深刻的是他貼在牆上的那些長方形的色塊,排成了具有他個人特色的圖形。」(考爾德,摘錄自C・吉曼納茲和A.S.C.・洛爾編撰,《考爾德:地心引力與典雅》,倫敦,2004年,第52頁)。我們注意到,考爾德觀察並受啟發的是蒙得里安工作室中的色彩及安置,而非畫作本身。

    與往往懸掛在天花板上由社尚所命名的《動態雕塑》相較,考爾德在此的《固定雕塑》(這個有趣的名稱則是藝術家漢斯・阿爾普所建議的),十分穩當地站在表面上,而且完全靜止,即使如此,仍然充滿了視覺的動感與刺激。考爾德的《無題》雖然不會轉動,卻仍能透過讓觀者視線移動,然後在這巧妙的互動間,感受到他在作品注入的動態。此件雕塑只用了兩片金屬相互交錯所組合而成,經由考爾德巧妙的色彩安排,從每個角度望過去,都僅能看到兩種顏色,然而其中組合可能性卻又是千變萬化。因此,有些角度看去,這雕塑是白色和黃色的、另一個角度又是紅色跟黑色、黑色和白色,或是黃色和紅色。這些都是極為強烈、生動的色彩,也為考爾德看似輕易做出的作品,平添了許多視覺戲劇性。此外,形體間也存在著一種視覺對比:交合的其中一片基本上是三角形,另一片則是由簡單直線與曲線所構成的錐狀形體。顏色本身強調了這些元素的並置,《無題》約為一英呎高,這件尺寸精巧的雕塑既適合放置家中又具親和力,雖然不大卻蘊含了像煙火般歡騰動感的視覺效果。

    《無題》上註記這件作品要獻給舞者及編舞家喬瑟夫・拉辛尼。這位舞蹈家生於尼斯,並在1959至1968年間擔任馬賽爾國家芭蕾舞團的團長。在任期間,他與考爾德合作,於1965年創作出《伽利略的星空》芭蕾舞,由拉辛尼本人編舞,舞名則源自天文物理學家伽利略・伽利萊的一句名言:「然而它在運轉著」。這對於《動態雕塑》的創始者考爾德來說,無疑是再也恰適不過的主題了。在1969年,考爾德與拉辛尼再度攜手合作,為《Métaboles》合作設計了舞台道具及服裝,音樂則由亨利・杜蒂耶譜曲,考爾德甚至為此設計了一張海報。《無題》上刻印著獻給拉辛尼,彰顯了其對多年合作關係的致意。

    《伽利略的星空》及《Métaboles》這兩齣舞蹈,考爾德在劇場設計均使用了《動態雕塑》懸掛於舞者之上。1968年,也就是《無題》創作的同年,考爾德開始能夠獨立完成自己的芭蕾舞計畫;在《作品尚未完成》這齣舞,考爾德讓他的作品伴隨著音樂,在台上舞動。經過為期一年的籌備,《作品尚未完成》於三月在羅馬歌劇院首次躍上舞台,那齣舞的主角不是舞者,而是考爾德的雕塑,還有些在舞台上穿梭的自行車騎士,及一些零星的人跡出現。在某些情況下,藝術家讓一些人將巨型的《動態雕塑》拖曳到舞台上。考爾德在那次舞蹈發表中似乎也展露出未來製作巨型雕塑的創作願景,巧妙地利用色彩與光線來操控視覺的戲劇性。觀看《無題》,觀者能夠藉此欣賞到即使是小型規模的雕塑,考爾德在無需借助讓雕塑實體移動的狀態下,就能達到同樣精湛的視覺效果。

  • Artist Bio

    Alexander Calder

    American • 1898 - 1976

    Alexander Calder worked as an abstract sculptor and has been commonly referred to as the creator of the mobile. He employed industrious materials of wire and metal and transformed them into delicate geometric shapes that respond to the wind or float in air. Although born into a family of sculptors, the artist studied mechanical engineering before pursuing a career in art; these studies may explain the science behind the unique balancing act of his dynamic structures. In addition to his mobiles, Calder produced an array of public constructions worldwide as well as drawings and paintings that feature the same brand of abstraction. Calder lived in Lawnton, Pennsylvania.

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Untitled (Maquette for Eppur Si Muove)

1965
signed, dedicated and dated 'pour Jo Lazzini CA 68' on the white element
painted sheet metal
31 x 22.2 x 22.2 cm. (12 1/4 x 8 3/4 x 8 3/4 in.)
Executed in 1965 and inscribed in 1968, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York under application number A15830.

Estimate
HK$1,500,000 - 2,500,000 
€168,000-281,000
$192,000-321,000

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20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 25 November 2018