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    Sale 2822

    Post-War and Contemporary Art

    17 June 2009, Amsterdam

  • Lot 195

    Jan Fabre (BELGIAN, B. 1958)

    De man die de wolken meet - The man who measures the clouds

    Price Realised  


    Jan Fabre (BELGIAN, B. 1958)
    De man die de wolken meet - The man who measures the clouds
    signed 'Jan Fabre' (on the ruler)
    silicon bronze with a golden patina
    288 cm. high
    Conceived in 1998 and cast in an edition of eight plus two artist proof.

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    In 1998 Jan Fabre created the present lot, a life-size, polished and shining realistic sculpture of a man on a ladder with a ruler in his hand measuring the clouds. It pays hommage to the artist's late brother, who was, accordig to Fabre, a true dreamer. But at the same time it was modelled after the artist himself, and thus expressing the feeling of planning the impossible, which is actually what an artist does, trying to gain a hold over the universe. As Fabre stated in an interview: "The figure symbolizes my trade. The artist's attempt to get grip on things, but it never quite works out as planned. (...) The artist measures: he establishes connections - mental, physical, political and philosophical rapports - I am constantly measuring these types of relationships, that is my duty as an artist. (...) As an artist, I constantly measure the clouds".
    Jan Fabre's work manifests a profound affection towards humankind and its dreams and weaknesses. The man who measures the clouds represents a frozen action, a tribute to death and to the artist (in: Sculpture, March 2004, Vol 23, no. 2, Conversation with Jan Fabre, by Michiel Amy).
    The work is also insprired on prisoner Robert Stroud, also known as the Birdman of Alcatraz. In the movie based on his life, his character played by Burt Lancaster, states when he left prison: "I am going to measure clouds". In real life Stroud died in prison.

    Other casts can be found in the collections of: SMAK, Ghent; San Fransisco Art Institute, San Fransisco; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; the City of Antwerp.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €20,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €20,001 and €800.000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €800.000. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.


    Acquired from the artist by the present owner, in 2000.


    Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Jan Fabre/Homo Faber, Ghent 2006, p. 14 (ill. of an other cast), p. 15.
    Philippe Dagen a.o., Jan Fabre, Les Bronzes, Paris 2006, p.17 - 55 (ill. of an other cast).