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Barry Flanagan (1941-2009)
Barry Flanagan (1941-2009)

Hare and Vase (Mid Summer Song)

Barry Flanagan (1941-2009)
Hare and Vase (Mid Summer Song)
stamped with number '2/7' (on the underside of the hare); incised with title 'Mid Summer Song' and stamped again with number '2/7' (on the base)
bronze and ceramic
34¾ x 18 7/8 x 9½ in. (88.2 x 47.9 x 24.1 cm.)
Executed in 1984. This work is number two from an edition of seven.
The Pace Gallery, New York
Barry Flanagan, Sculptures, exh. cat., Newcastle, 1987, p. 60 (illustrated).
London, Waddington Gallery, Barry Flanagan, 1985, n.p. (illustrated, another example exhibited).
Tokyo, Fuji Television Gallery, Barry Flanagan, 1985, n.p., no. 11 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
Cologne, Museum Ludwig, Europe/Amerika, 1986, p. 122, no. 49 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
Brussels, Palais des Beaux Arts, Europalia, 1986 (another example exhibited).
London, Serpentine Gallery, The Vessel, 1987 (another example exhibited).
Clermont-Ferrand, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Aspects de la Sculpture Contemporaine, 1994, n.p., no. 13 (illustrated, another example exhibited).

Lot Essay

"Thematically the choice of the hare is really quite a rich and expressive sort of model... and on a practical level, if you consider what conveys situation and meaning and feeling in a human figure, the range of expression is in fact far more limited than the device of investing an animal- a hare especially - with the attributes of a human being" (B. Flanagan quoted in Barry Flanagan. Sculpture and Drawing, exh. cat. Recklinghausen 2002, p.31).

Hare and Vase (Mid Summer Song), 1984, embodies Barry Flanagan's fascination with the hare motif. It is a quintessential work that reveals the artist's infusion of age-old sculptural tradition with freshness, creative passion and a unique vitality. Executed in bronze, this playful sculpture of a hare crouching over a vase is a sophisticated example of Flanagan's slender, elongated shapes, his experimentation with symmetry, and the elegant poise of his figures. The title imbues the work with a sense of whimsicality and myth that reflects Flanagan's creative spirit and humorous attitude. With a burst of joyous energy, Flanagan's iconic hare presents a striking sculptural form and invites the viewer to join the artist's celebration of nature, life and happiness.

Barry Flanagan's romance with the hare began shortly after his wife acquired a 'Lurcher,' a hunting dog that was traditionally used by poachers to hunt hares. He began to study the customs and myths of English country life, and as a result discovered a deep-rooted connection to pagan and nature worship. Flanagan uses a model, often his oldest daughter, Samantha, for the poses of his hare sculptures, giving them their extraordinary human presence. Flanagan cast his first hare in November 1979 and they came to public attention when they were shown at the Venice Biennale in 1982, when Flanagan was chosen to represent Britain.

Hare and Vase (Mid Summer Song) draws energy from the musical reference to a song as well as the playful season of summer. He cleverly contrasts the simple solid of the vase against the impressive movement, expression, and pure spirit of the hare. Flanagan, admired for his numerous public sculptures all over the world, has, in this instance, created a precious, smaller scale version of the beloved motif.

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