Thomas Houseago - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 16, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Switzerland

  • Catalogue Essay

    Widely praised for his deft interpretations of the complex interplay of two and three dimensionality combined with a forceful confrontation of the touchstones of Modernism, Thomas Houseago has set forth a bold and startling new vision for figurative sculpture. Recalling the muscular energy of Rodin, the fractured planes of Picasso, the attenuated forms of Giacometti, and the “truth to materials” ethos of Henry Moore, Houseago imbues each work with a particular dynamism that is inherently contemporary and yet born of the traditional. Forged in a rough-hewn, yet sophisticated manner, Houseago excels in every material in his repertoire, from plaster to wood and metals.

    The current work, Untitled, from 2011 is an exceptional example of his ability to wrestle an inimitable vitality from his material – a vitality which is a direct result of his intensely physical process. Beginning with an armature of iron rods, Houseago then drapes plaster soaked hemp and adds additional plaster forms in order to build up the weighty layers of his forms. Despite being built up, the face appears carved in relief while simultaneously seeming to grow out of its entablature. There is a frenetic energy to the face which strains at its own solidity and physicality. It is as if the head has become detached from the body and even as it can exist of its own volition, strains to find its way out into the world in the round. As the artist himself has enumerated, “I think you could say that all faces in sculptures are to some extent masks, so I’m not unusual in that. But I do love to look at how faces are made in sculptures historically and the stylizations that are employed in masks from different cultures…I create faces or heads or masks usually with the idea that they will be part of a bigger sculpture, but sometimes they are so complete or tell such a clear story that they become complete works, and I present them like that.” (T. Houseago, in R. R. Lafo “Figuratively Speaking,” Sculpture 29, no. 9 (November, 2010) pp. 29-30)



Tuf-Cal, hemp, iron rebar
83 x 42 x 8 in. (210.8 x 106.7 x 20.3 cm.)
This work is unique.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $149,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Day Sale
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 16 May 2014 11am