HUGUETTE CALAND (1931-2019)
HUGUETTE CALAND (1931-2019)
HUGUETTE CALAND (1931-2019)
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HUGUETTE CALAND (1931-2019)
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HUGUETTE CALAND (1931-2019)

Girl Skipping Rope

Details
HUGUETTE CALAND (1931-2019)
Girl Skipping Rope
signed and dated 'H. Caland 1998? 2000?' (on the reverse)
acrylic and metallic markers on board
96 x 48 in. (244 x 122 cm.)
Executed in 1998-2000
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2004.
Post lot text
Please refer to the storage and collection terms as set out in the terms and conditions.

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Victoria Gramm
Victoria Gramm

Lot Essay

Acquired directly from the artist at her Venice Beach home-studio in 2004, Girl Skipping Rope (1998-2000) is a monumental, dreamlike composition in acrylic on wood by Huguette Caland. It stands 2.5 metres tall, making it the largest wooden work in the artist’s oeuvre. Interweaving fluorescent beads and ribbons of thick paint with fine grids, dots and patchworks of line, she conjures a fantastical, exuberant scene from the fabric of memory. Caland portrays herself as a young girl in a pink dress, floating amid firework-like tendrils of colour over an undulating landscape; she addresses herself with the phrase Tu es trop (‘you are too much’) at the painting’s centre. From the upper right peers a portrait of Paul Caland, whom the artist was in love with from a young age, and married in 1952.

Recently the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at Tate St. Ives, which closed just weeks before her death in September 2019, Caland was born in 1931 in Beirut. She was the only daughter of the first President of the Republic of Lebanon, Bechara El Khoury; her romance with Paul Caland was problematic, as he was the nephew of a political rival. She spent much of her youth caring for her aging father, and only began studying art after his death in 1964. At the American University in Beirut she was taught to concentrate on the power of line by drawing continuous, unbroken tracks across the page, a method which would come to define her practice.

Caland rose to fame with her celebrated series of Bribes de Corps – sensual, liberated abstractions of the female body – in the early 1970s, after leaving her husband and relocating to Paris to establish an independent life as an artist. ‘I thought that I was strong enough to confront the world with my work,’ she recalled in an video interview when she was in her eighties. ‘I thought I had wings to fly, and I said goodbye to everybody’ (H. Caland, quoted in K. Q. Seelye, ‘Huguette Caland, 88, Dies; Celebrated Freedom in Art and Life’, New York Times, 30 September 2019). In 1986, she moved to the Venice neighbourhood of Los Angeles; she purchased an undeveloped lot from Sam Francis and built a palatial studio and home, where she was often surrounded by her children and friends. Girl Skipping Rope was painted here in the artist’s seventh decade. As spirited and colourful as Caland herself, it sees the artist looking fondly back on her past, taking flight into an incandescent world of freedom and beauty.

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