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Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Property from a Private American Collection 
Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)

First Man

Details
Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
First Man
signed and numbered 'Frink 1/3' (on the base)
bronze with a dark brown patina
76 in. (193 cm.) high, excluding stone base
Conceived in 1964.
Provenance
Acquired direct from the artist by the present owner.
Literature
F. Laws, The Guardian, 11 December 1965, p. 6.
E. Mullins, 'Grown-Up Prodigies', The Sunday Telegraph, 5 December 1965, p. 12.
Exhibition catalogue, London, Waddington Galleries, Elisabeth Frink, 1965, no. 5, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Prints and Drawings from Chaucer, London, Waddington Galleries, 1972., n.p., another cast illustrated.
E. Mullins, (intro.), The Art of Elisabeth Frink, London, 1972, pls. 62, 63, another cast illustrated.
B. Robertson, Elisabeth Frink Catalogue Raisonné, Salisbury, 1984, pp. 110, 160, 161, no. 113 , another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Drawings 1952-1984, London, Royal Academy, 1985, no. 32, p. 23, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Drawings 1950-1990, Washington D.C., The National Museum for Women in the Arts, 1990. p. 64.
E. Lucie-Smith and E. Frink, Frink: A Portrait, London, 1994, pp. 68-71, another cast illustrated.
A. Downing, exhibition catalogue, Elisabeth Frink, A Certain Unexpectedness: Sculptures, Graphic Works, Textiles, Salisbury, 1997, p. 69, no. 24, another cast illustrated.
S. Gardiner, Frink: The Official Biography of Elisabeth Frink, London, 1998, pp. 132, 174, 186, 194, 222, 223.
A. Ratuszniak (ed.), Elisabeth Frink catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture 1947-93, London, 2014, no. FCR 137, pp. 28, 92, another cast illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Tate Gallery, British Sculpture in the Sixties, February - April 1965, no. 38, another cast exhibited.
London, Waddington Galleries, Elisabeth Frink, November - December 1965, no. 5, another cast exhibited.
London, Waddington Galleries, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Prints and Drawings from Chaucer, October - November 1972, another cast exhibited.
London, Royal Academy, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Drawings 1952-1984, February - March 1985, no. 32, another cast exhibited.
Washington D.C., The National Museum for Women in the Arts, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Drawings 1950-1990, 1990, not numbered, exhibited.
Salisbury, Salisbury Cathedral and Close, Elisabeth Frink, A Certain Unexpectedness: Sculptures, Graphic Works, and Textiles, May - June 1997, no. 24, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Dorset, County Museum, July - August 1997.
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.
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Anne Haasjes
Anne Haasjes

Lot Essay

Conceived in 1964 and cast in an edition of three, First Man represents a pivotal moment in the artist's work. Her earlier warriors and falling and flying figures seem to be preoccupied with understandable pessimistic post-war concerns while, as Sarah Kent notes, First Man looks forward to a more complex representation of the male figure in her sculpture: 'He [First Man] stands naked and bemused, his hands, head and feet not yet fully differentiated, as though the process of development is not yet complete. He is a large, full-bodied man whose embryonic features suggest that he could go either way - his senses dulled into boorishness or heightened into self-awareness. The sculpture is optimistic in its implication that insensitivity, aggression and blinding ambition are not innate masculine characteristics, as Desmond Morris would have us believe, but are qualities encouraged through the process of socialization' (see B. Robertson, op. cit., p. 60).

Annette Ratuszniak comments on the present work, 'In the title of First Man and it's arm motif, Frink's standing figure refers directly to Rodin's L'age d'airain of 1876-76. Rodin had created the first modern ambivalent sculpture in which different content-based motifs were layered. The represented man was a warrior ... and at the same time wounded. Via the slight stepping motif, the extended posture of the mythological allusion in the title, the figure also represented the awakening of humankind. Frink's First Man seems to represent the condition immediately after awakening. The man stands and surveys his surroundings: hesitant, curious, self-conscious, not knowing what awaits him.

For all the proximity to Rodin in terms of content, what is strIking is that First Man is the first figure in which Frink abandoned the expressive modelling that had been her trademark until then. The surface was worked through an enclosed, large form, and instead of tracing movements three-dimensionally on the surface, the tension was hidden beneath the skin. Nevertheless, the surface was full of working traces and anything but smooth indicating that Frink was becoming more and more sculptural in her process, and making increasing use of chisels, rasps and saws on the form built up in plaster in order to achieve her finished forms ... In Frink's oeuvre First Man marks the transition from (sometimes narcissistic) expressive modelling to the modele (loc. cit., p. 29).

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