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    Sale 7595

    20th Century British Art

    6 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 176

    Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)

    Riace II

    Price Realised  


    Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
    Riace II
    signed and numbered 'Frink 2/4' (on the right side of the right foot)
    bronze with a dark brown patina and white-painted face
    83 in. (210.8 cm.) high, excluding bronze base
    Conceived in 1986.

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    Throughout her career a recurring motif for Frink had been the nude warrior, embodying nobility, brutality and innate strength.

    A new direction was inspired by the discovery, in 1972 off the coast of Southern Italy, of two over-life-sized Greek bronzes. After over 10 years of restoration they were displayed in Florence where Frink saw them (they are currently in the Museum in Reggio di Calabria, close to where they were found).

    The Greek bronzes are depicted with incredible realism; poised and alert. They have an air of unease and tension, enhanced by their contraposto positioning, raised arms and turned faces.

    It is these details which seem to have interested Frink the most. Her warriors are stockier than their ancient prototypes and their bodies are less clearly demarcated, but their gestures relate strongly. They too seem aware of their surroundings, their heads turned as if listening for something, they too seem to have the potential for action at a moment's notice.

    With the Riace figures Frink experimented with the effects of different patination. The present work is patinated in a rich brown with a white, masked face. This serves to increase the sense of unease and tension.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 22 November 2002, lot 104, where purchased by the present owner.


    E. Lucie-Smith, Elisabeth Frink Since 1984 and Drawings, London, 1994, p. 186, no. SC28, another cast illustrated.