Barry Flanagan, R.A. (1941-2009)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Barry Flanagan, R.A. (1941-2009)

Hare on Pyramid

Barry Flanagan, R.A. (1941-2009)
Hare on Pyramid
signed with monogram, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'fo A/C/3/3/7/-08/AB/LONDON' (on the side of the base)
bronze with a black patina
75 in. (190.5 cm.) high
Conceived in 1988 in an edition of 7, plus 3 artist's casts.
Cast in 2008 by AB Fine Art Foundry, London.
with Waddington Galleries, London, where purchased by the present owner on 29 October 2009.
Exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan, London, Waddington Galleries, 1990, pp. 24-25, 39, no. 11, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan, New York, Pace Gallery, 1990, n.p., no. 1, another cast illustrated.
E. Juncosa (ed.), exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan Sculpture: 1965-2005, Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 101, another cast illustrated.
C. Preston (ed.), Barry Flanagan, London, Waddington Galleries, 2017, p. 282, pl. 59, another cast illustrated.
J. Melvin, exhibition catalogue, The Hare is Metaphor, New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery, 2018, another cast exhibited.
London, Waddington Galleries, Twentieth Century Works, April - May 1989, another cast exhibited, ex-catalogue.
London, Waddington Galleries, Barry Flanagan, May - June 1990, no. 11, another cast exhibited.
New York, Pace Gallery, Barry Flanagan, September - October 1990, no. 1, another cast exhibited.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Dessert, Barry Flanagan, 1992, another cast exhibited, catalogue not traced.
London, Waddington Galleries, Works on Paper and Sculpture, September - October 1993, another cast exhibited, ex-catalogue.
Dublin, Royal Hibernian Academy, Barry Flanagan, February - March 1995, another cast exhibited, catalogue not traced.
London, Waddington Galleries, Barry Flanagan, September - October 1998, another cast exhibited, ex-catalogue.
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. This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

Brought to you by

William Porter
William Porter

Lot Essay

‘This little beast, fast and fleeting, active in the spring, standing upright only for a second or two, can carry many of Flanagan’s purposes. It is the consummation of the vein of humour in his art. But it also has serious artistic purposes as a vehicle for formal variations. I think we would be wrong not to recognise that there are numerous forms and attitudes taken by the hare that repeat a kind of classic modern figure sculpture’ (T. Hilton (intro.), exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan Sculpture, London, The British Council, 1982, p. 14).

‘The man the hare has met
will never be the better of it
except he lay down on the land
what he carries in his hand
be it staff or be it bow –
and bless him with his elbow
and come out with this litany
with devotion and sincerity
to speak the praises of the hare.
Then the man will better fare.’
(The Names of the Hare, Translation from the Middle English by Seamus Heaney, illustrated by Barry Flanagan)

Barry Flanagan’s Hare on Pyramid remains an iconic work of the 1980s, a decade that perhaps presents the most productive period of the artist’s uniquely eclectic career. 1979 marked Flanagan’s departure from his post-minimalist works of the 1960s and his return to the process of bronze casting with a focus on a more figurative aesthetic. Flanagan produced numerous animal sculptures in bronze, featuring elephants, dogs and horses, but, inspired by a vivid memory of the animal leaping through the Sussex Downs, the hare emerged as his most enduring subject. Flanagan first introduced the hare to his work in 1979 with Leaping Hare, before exhibiting the theme at the Waddington Galleries in 1981 and including a number of the bronze hares when representing Britain in the 1982 Venice Biennale. As instantly recognisable as Henry Moore’s reclining women or Giacometti’s attenuated men, the image of the hare has become Flanagan’s most essential leitmotif.

Hare on Pyramid, conceived in 1988, when Flanagan had already established an esteemed sculptural career, exemplifies his most significant artistic obsession. The animal’s lengthy outstretched limbs offer an exceptional sense of drama and movement that contests the inflexibility of the bronze material. The hare, arrested mid-leap by the sculptor, seems almost to burst out of its metal casting with a surge of dynamic energy. In fact, Flanagan used his daughter, Samantha, as a model for the poses of his hare sculptures, which could account for their unmistakeable vibrancy and lifelike presence. The artist was not only fascinated by the fluidity and physicality of the hare’s anatomy, but also by its numerous historical and mythological connotations. Flanagan came upon the book The Leaping Hare by George Ewart Evans and David Thompson, a work which outlines the various transcultural symbolic interpretations of the hare. In Chinese mythology, the hare was the sole companion of the moon goddess, mixing her elixir of mortality in its pestle and mortar. The circular and crescent moon shapes on either side of the present work’s pyramid base are perhaps a nod to the ancient Chinese tale of the lunar hare. For the Egyptians, the hare was the hieroglyphic symbol for existence itself and, of course, the animal is known as the tortoise’s cunning opponent in Aesop’s universally celebrated fable. As a result, Flanagan’s Hare on Pyramid invites viewers into a world of myths, parables and legends that perhaps provides a moment of respite from the rigidity of reality.

Flanagan was acutely aware of the diverse iconological use of the hare, capitalising on the animal’s image as a mercurial and mischievous figure. Consequently, the hare appears as the perfect metaphor for the artist’s own elusive character and an emblematic herald that reflects Flanagan’s desire to evade the categorisation of a specific artistic movement. Flanagan’s continual use of the hare was considered an important resistance against strict avant-garde academicism and an over-intellectualised view of art from that period. Hare on Pyramid mirrors this sense of rebellion as the supple lines of the animal contrast effectively with the geometric pyramid base, which acts as a force of gravity, trying to draw the hare back to earth. The pyramid equally carries cross-cultural significance, constructed by ancient societies in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt – for thousands of years the largest structures on earth were pyramids. With the base, Flanagan also makes a more recent art historical reference to the 20th Century use of abstracted geometric shapes. However, Flanagan’s hare triumphs over the pyramidal structure and its earthly implications, balancing elegantly atop it. Hare on Pyramid demonstrates why Flanagan was universally lauded by critics, fellow artists and his viewership. Enrique Juncosa insists ‘Consequently there is nothing repetitive in the thoughtful use of a single theme. In short, we are observing the work of a truly creative man who possesses enormous, independent talent, which, naturally and with humility, seems to befuddle our brains and instantly carry us to some unknown area of our psyche’ (E. Juncosa, Barry Flanagan, London, 1994, p. 8).

We are very grateful to the Barry Flanagan estate for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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