Figures swimming had long captivated Wynne's imagination. On the recommendation of Victor Lownes, Hugh Hefner commissioned Wynne to create a large fountain sculpture to serve as a focal point outside Playboy’s new Atlantic City club and casino complex. Wynne flew to the infamous mansion in Los Angeles to discuss the matter with Hefner, after which he decided to sculpt ‘a complicated and subtle group where the two [figures] literally balance one another’ (J. Stone (ed.), The Sculpture of Wynne 1974-1992, London, 1993, p. 56).
The present work, cast in 1981, is a maquette for the monumental full-size commission which stood at over eleven feet high. Hefner chose Playboy centerfold Victoria Cooke to model for the female figure; and Wynne chose his stepson Jonny as the model for the male figure. Wynne explained, ‘He is like a bow, her arms the string, and her body the arrow. In one sense, he is breaking himself to let her fly free…’ The remarkable composition pivots imperceptibly on the toe point of the male figure (see D. Elliott, Boy with a Dolphin: The Life and Work of David Wynne, London, 2010, pp. 101-102).
We are very grateful to Nicola Bennett for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.