Germaine Richier (1902-1959)
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Germaine Richier (1902-1959)

L'Ogre

Details
Germaine Richier (1902-1959)
L'Ogre
signed, numbered and incised with foundry mark 'G. Richier HC2 L.THINOT fondeur PARIS' (on the base)
bronze with black patina
31 7/8 x 17¾ x 16 1/8in. (81 x 45 x 41cm.)
Conceived in 1949 and cast at a later date, this work is number HC2 from an edition of eight plus four artist's proofs
Provenance
The Estate of the artist.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
R. M. Claude, "Venise XXVI Biennale: Présence française", in Arts, Paris, 26 June 1952, no. 365.
J. Grenier, "Germaine Richier, Sculpteur du terrible", in L'Oeil, Paris, September 1955, no. 9 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 26-31).
G. Waldemar, "Germaine Richier", in Prisme des arts, Paris, April 1956, no. 2.
D. Chevalier, "Un grand sculpteur: Germaine Richier", in Prestige français et Mondanités, Paris, September 1956, no. 19 (another from the edition, illustrated, pp. 60-65).
B. Milleret, "Envoûtement de Germaine Richier", in Les Nouvelles littéraires, Paris, 11 October 1956.
A. Chastel, "Germaine Richier: la puissance et le malaise", in Le Monde, Paris, 13 October 1956.
D. Chevalier, "Sculpture encore: dans son atelier, vaste forêt de plâtres et de bronzes, Germaine Richier, chef d'école sculpte les grands mythes sylvestres", in Femme, Paris, October-November 1956, pp. 71-83 (another from the edition illustrated).
M. Conil-Lacoste, "Chroniques: Germaine Richier ou la confusion des règnes" in Cahiers du sud, Marseille, February 1957, pp. 307-311. Sculpture by Germaine Richier, exh. cat., Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, 1958.
Créations et récréations de Germaine Richier, exh. cat., Paris, Musée Grimaldi, 1959.
C. Roger-Marx, "Cette héritière, inspirée des grands maîtres: Germaine Richier", in Le Figaro littéraire, Paris, 8 August 1959. R. Couturier, "Tribune de Paris - Adieu à Germaine Richier: La force de son oeuvre", in Tribune de Lausanne, Lausanne, 9 August 1959, no. 7.
A. Giacometti, "Tribune de Paris - Adieu à Germaine Richier: Assise parmi ses sculptures", in Tribune de Lausanne, Lausanne, 9 August 1959, no. 7.
M. H. Vieira da Silva, "Tribune de Paris - Adieu à Germaine Richier: Son atelier était plein d'une étrange musique", in Tribune de Lausanne, Lausanne, 9 August 1959, no. 7.
M. Seuphor, "XXIII. Biographies: Richier, Germaine", in La sculpture de ce siècle, dictionnaire de la sculpture moderne, Neuchâtel, 1959, pp. 225-353.
G. Marchiori, Modern French Sculpture, London 1964, p. 52-53.
Germaine Richier, exh. cat., Paris, Galerie Creuzevault, 1966 (another from the edition illustrated, unpaged).
R. Barotte, "A la rencontre de Germaine Richier (1904-1959), le sculpteur qui va...au-delà de", in Vision sur les arts, Béziers, November, 1978.
Brassaï, "Germaine Richier", in les Artistes de ma vie, Paris, 1982, pp. 194-197.
P. Levy, "London's Frenetic Gallery Scene: O'Keeffe sinks; Freud is missing", in The Wall Street Journal Europe, 11 June 1993.
F. Guiter, "L'Ogre, 1949-L'Hydre, 1954-Le Pentacle 1954" in Richier, exh. cat., Venice 2007, pp. 78-85.
F. Guiter, "Biography", in Richier, exh. cat., Venice 2007, pp. 131-135.
Exhibited
São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, II Biennale, 1952, no. 3 (another from the edition exhibited).
Venice, French Pavilion, XXVI Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte, 1952, no. 151 (another from the edition exhibited).
Chicago, The Allan Frumkin Gallery, The Sculpture of Germaine Richier, 1954, no. 11 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Basel, Kunsthalle, Germaine Richier, Bissière, H. R. Schiess, Vieira da Silva, Raoul Ubac, 1954, no. 9 (another from the edition exhibited).
Bienne, Collège des Près Ritter, Exposition suisse de sculpture en plein air, 1954, no. 170 (another from the edition exhibited).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Vieira da Silva, Germaine Richier, 1955, no. 35 (another from the edition exhibited).
Lille, Galerie Marcel Evrard, Germaine Richier, Roger Vieillard, 1955, no. 5 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
London, The Hanover Gallery, Germaine Richier, 1955, no. 7 (another from the edition exhibited).
Paris, Musée national d'Art moderne, Germaine Richier, 1956, no. 16, pl. XIV (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Sculpture by Germaine Richier, 1958, no. 10 (another from the edition exhibited).
Boston, University School of Fine and Applied Arts, Sculptures by Germaine Richier, 1959, no. 30 (another from the edition exhibited). Antibes, Musée Picasso, Germaine Richier, 1959, no. 67 (another from the edition exhibited).
New York, Museum of Modern Art, New Images of Man, 1959, no. 90 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Germaine Richier, 1963, no. 46 (another from the edition exhibited).
Arles, Musée Réattu, Germaine Richier, 1964, no. 22 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Humlebaeck, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Germaine Richier, 1988, no. 12 (another from the edition exhibited).
Paris, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Dominique Rolin, le temps approuvé, 1993 (another from the edition exhibited).
London, Tate Gallery, Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55, 1993, no. 98 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated, pp. 161-162).
Saint-Paul de Vence, Fondation Maeght, Germaine Richier, Rétrospective, 1996, no. 36 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 91).
Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-arts, De Vallotton à Dubuffet, 1996-97 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated). Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Germaine Richier, 1997, no. 39 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Saint-Paul de Vence, Fondation Maeght, Le Nu au XXe siècle, 2000- 01, no. 129 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Richier, 2007 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
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.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

Françoise Guiter will include this work in the upcoming Richier Catalogue Raisonné in preparation and we are grateful for her assistance.

'My nature does not allow me calmness: one is as one is, and age does not make me milder or more serene, not that I am fighting, but it is in me, with me. More and more I am certain that only humanness matters' (Germaine Richier in Fragments de lettres au Sculpteur Banninger 1950-56 in Galerie Creuzevault (ed.), Germaine Richier Paris, 1996, n.p.).

L'Ogre, Germaine Richier's wonderfully mysterious sculpture of a standing figure, belongs to one of the most celebrated periods of her oeuvre. With its rich heritage of expressionist and surrealist sculpture, the dramatic figure of a man, his body rich with the texture of sculptural impasto, shows the very essence of its creation as an object of powerful and enigmatic beauty. His magnificently solid body is contrasted by his attenuated limbs which results in a deliberately unsettling posture. When asked about her preference for such slight foundations, Richier responded: 'I like thin legs supporting heavy masses. But most sculptors do the opposite, they put a thin body on heavy legs. Yes, they made thick legs when sculpture had a respect for the canon. This I do not care to maintain' (Germaine Richier, quoted in P. Guth and N. Chapman, 'Encounter With Germaine Richier', Yale French Studies: Contemporary Art, No. 19/20, 1957, p. 82).One of Richier's iconic standing figures, L'Ogre is also included in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome.

The model for L'Ogre was Richier's favourite life-model, Nardone, who also modeled extensively for Rodin. The imposing figure of her elderly Italian muse -- portly, gruff and standing head and shoulders above Richier -- provided just the kind of form she was interested in exploring. Not for her were the figures of physical perfection required by the previous generation of sculptors. Having lived through the horrors of the Second World War, it was the broken figures of humanity that interested her most. Caught in a state of almost suspended motion, the figure of L'Ogre looks as though he wants to move, but cannot decide where. Referring to the concept of movement in sculptures, Richier says: 'I am not looking to reproduce a particular movement. I am rather looking to make one think of that movement. My statues must give the impression of being immobile whilst, at the same time, seem like they are going to move around'(Germaine Richier quoted in Germaine Richier, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek 1988, p. 29).

Richier begins the sculptural process by painting 'construction' lines of the contours of the body directly onto the surface of the clay. Then, with her fingers, she manoeuvers the molded material slowly into the form that she wants, with direct pressure and force to manipulate each contour until she achieved the desired effect. The bronze still bears the intricate details of its construction with the surface of L'Ogre reading like a roadmap, taking us on an intoxicating journey through its creation. L'Ogre, is a Cyclops; its face nothing more than a seemingly empty cavity devoid of recognisable human features. Yet it is precisely this disquieting quality that, paradoxically, gives additional life to the sculpture. The small, perfectly formed circle in the centre of the head, probably formed by the wooden handle of a paintbrush, gives some human dimension to what would otherwise be a haunting, formless face.

In the years after the Second World War, Germaine Richier's sculptural forms took an unusual form, She abandoned her training in realist sculpture that she had received from Rodin's assistant, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and began to create powerful works that combined the formal language of expressionism with the mysterious fantasies of Surrealism. The human body was both the source of her inspiration and the point of departure for her new sculptural forms. Her startlingly original depictions of human and human-like forms helped to establish her work as among the most powerfully expressive art being created in Europe at that time. Despite the ravages of circumstance, Richier's upright figures maintain a sense of human dignity or even nobility. Richier attempts to express the innate humanness underlying her figures and despite being naked and vulnerable, L'Ogre is still a human being. Despite his human imperfections, this wonderfully expressive figure remains all the more dignified for that. SJ

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