Claire Falkenstein - Design New York Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Literature

    Maren Henderson, Claire Falkenstein: Structure and Flow: Works from 1950-1980, exh. cat., West Hollywood, CA, Louis Stern Fine Arts, 2006, pp. 79-95 for similar works from the same period

  • Catalogue Essay

    If eyes are windows to the soul, glasses are its curtains. Peggy Guggenheim wore a wild pair. They flew out from her temples like wings. She stood apart, as did the artists she championed: Brancusi, Calder, Arp—Claire Falkenstein among them. In 1961 Falkenstein completed a major mid-career commission, the garden gates of the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice, now home to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Between imposing stone jambs, Falkenstein welded a dense network of thin steel bars interspersed with Venetian glass inclusions, like a clutch of eggs.
    The Guggenheim gates stand at the threshold between Falkenstein’s congested "Lattice" works of the 1950s—bent wire entanglements—and her "Never-Ending Screens", angled bronze, copper, or iron bars whose open, unresolved edges suggest expansion beyond their margins. In a 1988 interview with Virginia Walker, the artist explained: “…the viewer could look through in any direction to infinity. The only references are points of conjunction and the spaces between the boundaries.”
    “Infinity” is apt but so too “boundaries,” its contradiction. Falkenstein’s screens fracture space like smashed glass and catch the eye in close confines. But cracks aren’t breaks, they’re seams; connection is Falkenstein’s intent. Nearly all her structures, early and late, comprise crossed metal bars or knotted wires joined, not broken, by welding or soldering. 
    The present wall-mounted work is similar to a "Never-Ending Screen," but the composition is more relaxed.  Loops and curves suggest the felt-tip hash marks in Falkenstein’s expressive watercolors of the 1960s. In a 2006 Art in America review, Daniel Belasco wrote: “She was one of the first sculptors…to translate abstract gesture painting into three dimensions.” Colored glass inclusions stand out in the crowd, as at the Guggenheim. A burst sun blooms above a ground of endless variation.


Monumental wall-mounted sculpture

ca. 1970
Welded copper tube, hammered copper, clear and colored glass.
74 x 90 x 7 in. (188 x 228.6 x 17.8 cm.)

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $43,750


17 Dec 2008 2pm
New York