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  • Provenance

    Estate of the Artist
    Sicardi Gallery, Houston
    acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Commencing in the 1950s, Soto abandoned pictorial representation and began to create works that suggested the element of time in space. These works—many of which featured endless repetitions of precise parallel lines superimposed with three dimensional squares had the optical quality of producing spatial ambiguity. Soto’s aim—which would continue throughout his career—was to put color in motion. Thus, the combination of color in works like the present lot creates the sensation of optical movement propelled by vibrational strength. By the mid-1950s, Soto was at the forefront of abstraction as he went beyond kineticism, which was mainly concerned with producing a sense of destabilization. Instead, Soto strove to incorporate visible movement along with audience engagement. Between 1954 and 1958, Soto arrived at three pivotal concepts in his work: the use of varied materials, the introduction of planes to suggest a penetrable quality to the work, and light as a means to alter the object’s visual perception through the viewer’s movement. In 1961, he struck a close friendship with Nouvelle Realistes artists such as Yves Klein, Pier Restany and Jean Tingley, who shared the decision to use common materials to actively bring life and art closer together. Although Soto did not officially align himself with this or any group, he did exhibit extensively alongside the Nouvelle Realistes and other European and Latin American artists who were solely dedicated to abstraction. The period of time from the mid-1960s until the 1970s was pivotal during which he consolidated his creative and conceptual lexicon.

    The present lot, Vibración vertical, is an exceptional example of Soto’s mature work that incorporates many of his characteristic techniques to produce pure abstraction and kineticism. The overlaying of pictorial elements through the use of basic materials—metal and wood—produce visible vibrations that mesmerize the viewer, affecting the physical space around the object. Interestingly, this and other works from the 1970s concluded Soto’s period in Paris, where he developed the core of his practice and became an internationally renowned artist after achieving his first retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1969.

  • Artist Biography

    Jesús Rafael Soto

    Venezuelan • 1923 - 2005

    Jesús Rafael Soto was born in Ciudad Bolívar and studied at the School of Visual and Applied Arts in Caracas. During this period he became acquainted with Los Disidentes, a group of artists that included Alejandro Otero and Carlos Cruz-Diez. In addition to his fellow compatriots, Soto’'s work was influenced by Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian.

    The main artistic tenets evinced in Soto's works are pure abstraction, vibrations, progressions and geometric rigor. They can be seen through the use of lines and superimposed squares in his sculptures, made with paint and a series of industrial and synthetic materials. He spent much time in Europe, becoming a key member of the Group Zero movement, which included such artists as Lucio Fontana, Gunther Uecker and Yves Klein. As a result, Soto's work also incorporates modernist concepts such as light, time, movement, color manipulation and space. All of these facets place him as an important figure within the Kinetic and Op Art movements.

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Vibración vertical

signed, titled and dated "VIBRACION VERTICAL - SOTO - 1970" on the reverse
painted wood and metal relief
50 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 9 in. (127.6 x 52.1 x 22.9 cm)
Executed in 1970.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Department, Americas
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York Auction 21 November 2017