John Chamberlain - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of the artist
    Gifted to Helen Dorn
    Estate of Helen Dorn
    Lennon Weinberg Gallery, New York
    Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York
    Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Some seem to think I work with found pieces, but I don’t. They’re chosen [sic], you see. The idea is that there has been a lot of magic implied in the choice.” John Chamberlain ca. 1964Untitled (Tiny Piece) wonderfully embodies Chamberlain’s ability to “choose” objects and arrange them in such a fashion as to imbue the finished sculpture with an incredible pathos and vitality. Each element of the work, from the red, yellow, green and blue sheets of painted metal to the small jar upon which the conglomeration of metals is set, are all placed and arranged in such a way that seems both random and yet somehow predetermined – that there could be no other possible composition. This superb example of Chamberlain’s seminal work is part of a group of seven works entitled Tiny Piece all dating from 1961. Each one of these miniature masterpieces embody and exude the same power and expression found in his more massively scaled sculptures. Indeed, much of Chamberlain’s oeuvre plays on the viewer’s sense of scale. Other works from the series found their way to similarly esteemed collections, even that of the progenitor of post-modernism itself, Marcel Duchamp. Untitled (Tiny Piece) clearly exemplifies Chamberlain’s deft hand and ability to translate many of the same concepts established by his Abstract Expressionist predecessors into a radically new three-dimensional creative reality.By 1961, John Chamberlain had already had his solo first exhibition at Martha Jackson Gallery and was fast on his way to establishing himself as the pre-eminent American sculptor of the post-war period. Settling on his preferred medium of conglomerations of torsioned scrap metal, Chamberlain assumed and ingrained an appreciation for the Abstract Expressionist focus on color, gesture, texture and even size and scale within their work and realizing it in a new three-dimensional format. He found in this practice an ability to create and engage his sculptural works with the fundamental realism of its physical self and its setting in a manner which had hardly been addressed before. Presaging and foreshadowing the work of the Pop and Minimalist masters which would accompany his, and the New York School’s ascendancy in twentieth and twenty-first century art history, Chamberlain time and time again challenged the notion of what sculpture could be and was capable of effecting in the minds and eyes of the viewer.


Ο ◆14

Untitled (Tiny Piece)

painted metal, jar, lid
5 x 4 x 4 in. (12.7 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm)
This work has been recorded in the archives of the John Chamberlain studio.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $185,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Evening Sale 14 May 2015 7pm