Walter Leblanc - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Thursday, October 5, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Denise René, Paris
    Private Collection, Switzerland

  • Exhibited

    Brussels, Galerie Charles Kriwin, Walter Leblanc: Stringfields, October 1977
    Dusseldorf, Museum Kunstpalast , 50 Belgischer Künstler aus Flandern, 3 December 1978 - 1 January 1979
    Le Havre, Musée des Beaux-Arts André Malraux, Rencontres, 1982
    Brussels, Atelier 340; Ludwigshafen, WHM; Bottrop, Josef Albers Museum Quadrat; Salzburg, MCA; Ostend, Provinciaal Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Walter Leblanc. Contribution to the history of « New Tendancy », 9 July 1989 - 2 March 1990, pp. 96-97 and p. 234 (illustrated)
    Miami Espace expression, HOMAGE TO DENISE RENÉ: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF A VISION, 3 December 2013 - 3 May 2014

  • Literature

    Nicole Leblanc, Danielle Everarts de Velp-Seynaeve, eds., Walter Leblanc: catalogue raisonné, Brussels, 1997, pp. 267-269 and p. 273 (illustrated)

    We are most grateful to the Fondation Walter and Nicole Leblanc for their assistance with the cataloguing of this work.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In Twisted Strings, a monumental triptych by Walter Leblanc, vibrating rays move across the plane and present a new reality, reflective of a pure organic experience. Sensorial in its geometry, with a twisting and precise interplay of light and shadow, the present work is a primary example of Leblanc’s skilled manipulation of materials. A founding member of the neo-avant-garde group, G58 in Antwerp in 1958, and an active participant of the ZERO and Nouvelle Tendance movements, Leblanc is considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary artistic exploration. Celebrated for his precise employment of tonality and materials moving beyond the traditional notion of an artwork, the artist forges surfaces for contemplation, creating spaces which require the active involvement of the viewer. In its sublimity, the present work is a textural masterpiece from the height of Leblanc’s oeuvre.

    Elevating his use of torsion to be the principle pictorial element, Leblanc experimented with vinyl, cotton thread and latex in his work from 1959 to form geometric and textural canvases. Stretching fine threads across the canvas, the artist cautiously created salient structures, transcending the boundaries of traditional painting to enter the realm of sculpture without entering a third dimension. A culmination of his masterful technique, Twisted Strings displays the artist’s fascination with the qualities of unconventional materials and their ability to forge tension. Radiating with the dynamic power of light and expelling the positive illusion of motion, the viewer is presented with varying tones of white created through the interplay of light and shadow.

    A trio of undeniable classicism, Twisted Strings surpasses the layers of traditional painting through the manipulation of physical and visual spectacles. An object for absolute consideration, Leblanc’s work forges new realms of interpretation. Through retinal stimulation, the viewer’s appreciation of the work transcends traditional boundaries of perception. An undisputed master of ’zeroing’, Leblanc’s legacy in the path of twentieth century artistic theory is without question. Executed the same decade that the artist represented Belgium at the 35th Venice Biennale, Twisted Strings combines an intense yet serene tonality with a structural complicity. Leblanc’s pictorial geology opposes established notions of figuration and abstraction, projecting his oeuvre into a wholly new and innovative dimension which requires deciphering through a novel and phenomenological approach.

    With the assistance of his brother, in 1960 Leblanc produced a twisting machine to facilitate the fabrication of extremely precise torsions. Tightening and twisting cotton threads over customary stretcher supports the artist produced beams of textural shadow and light in modest geometric shapes, each unified in Leblanc’s oeuvre through the artist’s mastery of tension. Experimenting with sculpture, the artist began toying with preconceived notions of dimensionality and fundamentally reinventing the idea of creative activity. Elevating the notion of sculptural painting, Leblanc organised the influential exhibition Anti-Peinture (Anti-Painting) in 1962, presenting ‘a new dimension that emerges directly from painting rather than sculpture’ ( Anti-peinture, exh. cat., Hessenhuis, Antwerp, 1962, n.p). Penetrating space and integrating the environment within which the works are presented, Leblanc’s compositions take in, transform and radiate light. Twisting the space of our visual experience, Leblanc remains at the centre of the multifarious and transnational European artistic theories, both theoretical and functionally concerned with the construction of space through the production of dynamism. Gyrating within the German ZERO, Dutch Nul and Italian Azimuth movements, as well as Nouveau Réalisme and GRAV in France, Leblanc’s network of influences is acutely evident in his sculptural creations. In 1962, following his influential exhibition Anti-Peinture in Antwerp, the artist joined the international Nouvelle Tendance group and began exhibiting with the ZERO group. In keeping with his international colleagues, throughout his prolific career the artist remained consistently concerned with redefining the academic and practical coordinates of artistic creation.


Twisted Strings

phase 1: signed and dated 'Walter Leblanc 1976 - 1977' on the reverse; phase 2: signed and dated 'Walter Leblanc 1977' on the reverse; phase 3: signed and dated 'Walter Leblanc 1977' on the reverse
cotton string and white latex on canvas, triptych
each 130 x 130 cm (51 1/8 x 51 1/8 in.)
overall 130 x 450 cm (51 1/8 x 177 1/8 in.)

Executed in 1976 - 1977.

£180,000 - 220,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £187,500

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061 [email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 6 October 2017