Henri Laurens (1885-1954)
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Henri Laurens (1885-1954)

La grande nuit

Details
Henri Laurens (1885-1954)
La grande nuit
signed with the monogram, numbered and stamped with the foundry mark 'HL 1/6 .valsuani cire perdue' (on the top of the base)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm.);
Length: 28 in. (71.1 cm.)
Conceived in 1950 and cast in a numbered edition of six plus one
Provenance
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (no. 054161), by whom acquired directly from the artist.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 1981.
Literature
Exh. cat., Henri Laurens - Exposition de la donation aux Musées Nationaux, Grand Palais, Paris, 1967, no. 102 (another cast illustrated).
B. Lobo, exh. cat., Laurens, Salon de mai, Paris, 1955 (another cast illustrated).
W. Hofmann, Henri Laurens Sculptures, Teufen, 1970, pp. 28-29 & 46 (another cast illustrated).
Exh. cat., Henri Laurens, Skulpturen, Collagen, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, Druckgraphik, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, 1985, p. 12 (another cast illustrated).
J. Leymarie, La plenitude créatrice, mûrissement de la forme et scansion de l'espace, Brion, 1990, p. 15 (another cast illustrated).
Exhibited
Rome, Accademia di Francia, Henri Laurens, November 1980 - January 1981, no. 60, p. 96 (illustrated).
Lugano, Galleria Pieter Coray, Henri Laurens, October - November 1982, no. 11.
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Henri Laurens, 1885-1954, August - October 1985, no. 105; this exhibition later travelled to Munich, Museum Villa Stuck, November 1985 - January 1986.
Barcelona, Museu Picasso, Henri Laurens, 1885-1954: Escultures i Dibuixos, March - May 1989, no. 133.
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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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

The flowing lines and organically rounded forms of La grande nuit perfectly encapsulate Henri Laurens' lyrical approach to the subject of the reclining female figure. Laurens conceived the present work in 1950 when, as Michael Harrison has observed, his 'career had reached that pitch of ripeness which he was seeking in each sculpture' (M. Harrison, 'Introduction', Henri Laurens: bronzes, collages, drawings, prints, exh. cat., London, 1980). The year after he executed La grande nuit, Laurens made a series of statements to Yvon Taillandier that provides insight into his working methods at this time: 'When I begin a sculpture, I only have a vague idea of what I want to do. For instance, I have the idea of a woman or of something related to the sea. Before being a representation of whatever it may be, my sculpture is a plastic act and, more precisely, a series of plastic events, products of my imagination, answers to the demands of the making. I provide a title right at the end' (Y. Taillandier, 'Une déclaration de Henri Laurens', in Amis de l'Art, 26 June 1951, D. Sylvester, trans; reprinted in Henri Laurens: 1895-1954, exh. cat., London, 1971).
La grande nuit was cast in an edition of seven. Other casts of this work are housed in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the National Gallery in Prague, the Sprengel Museum in Hannover and the Pfalzgalerie in Kaiserslautern.

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