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  • Provenance

    Galerie Denise René, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1977

  • Catalogue Essay

    Raised in the small regional capital of Ciudad Bolivar with limited exposure to art, Jesús Rafael Soto received a scholarship to study at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas in Caracas from 1942-1947. During this time, Venezuela was undergoing societal and cultural shifts as a result of the ending of a thirty year period of dictatorial rule under Juan Vicente Gómez. This political change sparked developments towards modernization in an attempt to leave behind Venezuela’s isolationist policies of the past. As a result, Soto participated in an emerging society that advocated for Venezuelan art to be elevated and recognized at the international level. Venezuelan artists like Soto began to shed the traditional regionalist style and became advocates for an abstract approach.

    This group of Venezuelan artists and intellectuals would later reconvene in Paris in 1950. Post-war Paris attracted a myriad of European and Latin American intellectuals, many of whom were fleeing various forms of political instability in their home countries. The French were eager to reclaim Paris as the world’s art capital and therefore granted numerous scholarships, thus fostering a robust international art scene, of which Soto became an integral member, catapulting him into the international art scene. By combining geometric and organic forms, Soto began an exploration into animated kinetic abstractions. The present lot—a three dimensional assemblage built with a variety of textures and materials—immerses viewers through the interplay of repeating vertical lines intersected with curved hanging elements, creating a mesmerizing visual vibration.

  • 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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Escritura medio amarilla

signed, titled and dated "ESCRITURA MEDIO AMARILLA - SOTO - 1977" on the reverse
painted wood and metal rods with nylon strings
21 1/2 x 27 5/8 x 14 in. (54.6 x 70.2 x 35.6 cm)
Executed in 1977.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $181,250

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

Latin America

New York Auction 21 November 2017