BARRY FLANAGAN, R.A. (1941-2009)
BARRY FLANAGAN, R.A. (1941-2009)
BARRY FLANAGAN, R.A. (1941-2009)
BARRY FLANAGAN, R.A. (1941-2009)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE FOUNDATION MIREILLE AND JAMES LÉVY
BARRY FLANAGAN, R.A. (1941-2009)

Les Deux

BARRY FLANAGAN, R.A. (1941-2009)
Les Deux
signed with monogram, numbered and stamped with foundry mark '7/8' (at the base)
bronze with a black patina
67 ¾ in. (172 cm.) high, including base
Conceived in 1997 and cast in an edition of 8, plus 3 artist's casts.
Cast by Dublin Art Foundry, Dublin in 1998.
with Waddington Galleries, London, where purchased by the present owners in June 1998.
S. Anderson, exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan - Sculpture, Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, 1998, p. 6, exhibition not numbered, pl. 2, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan, London, Waddington Galleries, 1998, p. 31, another cast illustrated.
C. Preston (ed.), Barry Flanagan, London, 2017, p. 284, pl. 108, another cast illustrated.
J. Melvin, exhibition catalogue, The Hare is Metaphor, New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery, 2018, p. 106, another cast.
Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, Barry Flanagan - Sculpture, April - May 1998, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.
Salzburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Barry Flanagan: New Sculpture, May - July 1998, another cast exhibited.
Denbigh, Denbigh Library Art Gallery, Steve rake 1944-2008: A Tribute, November 2008 - January 2009, another cast exhibited.
London, Waddington Galleries, Barry Flanagan: Works 1966-2008, March - April 2010, no. 26, another cast exhibited.
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 has been imported from outside the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Customs Duty (as applicable) will be added to the hammer price and Import VAT at 20% will be charged on the Duty inclusive hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer''s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice. Please see Conditions of Sale. Cancellation under the EU Consumer Rights Directive may apply to this lot. Please see here for further information. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

‘The great bronze hares which Barry Flanagan has been producing since the 1980s are one of the most personal and recognisable artistic endeavours of the second half of this century. Spectacular in size, bitingly ironic and bold, as well as terribly individualistic, they are totally unlike what we normally see in museums and galleries around the world’
-Enrique Juncosa

Les Deux, 1997, is one of Barry Flanagan’s most striking hare sculptures, which typified his figurative work from 1979 onwards. Regarded as Flanagan’s most recognisable motif, the hare has become synonymous with his artistic practice, as with the reclining figure for Henry Moore or the attenuated man for Alberto Giacometti. Inspired by his memory of a hare that he recalled bounding majestically across the Sussex Downs in 1979, Flanagan began to look to a more figurative aesthetic, which moved away from his conceptual works of the 1960s. Leaving behind his more unconventional materials, such as sand and rope, Flanagan began to work in bronze, delineating a series of animal sculptures in this material, such as horses, elephants, dogs and most importantly the hare, which he first introduced into his oeuvre with Leaping Hare, 1979.

Flanagan was fascinated by the rich mythology of the hare. In 1979 he discovered the book The Leaping Hare by George Ewart Evans and David Thompson, which explored the mythological attributes of the hare throughout history, listing the transcultural and historically symbolic implications of the animal. It told of the hare’s connotations to fertility, liberty, cleverness, deceit and triumph, recording that in Egyptian mythology the hieroglyph ‘Wn’, represented by a hare on top of a single blue-green ripple, meant to ‘exist’, while in Chinese tradition the Moon Hare holds a pestle and mortar, in which it mixes an elixir of immortality. The role of ‘The Hare as Trickster’, the title of one of Ewart’s chapters, found particular resonance with the artist who delighted in the mercurial and mischievous attributes of the hare, the qualities of which are represented in Les Deux.

One of the most celebrated qualities of Flanagan’s hare sculptures is their wonderful ability to imbue a sense of wit, humour and playfulness, with the artist often manipulating their anthropomorphic characters into sporting roles as they wrestle, box or dance. Here Flanagan has cast them in the character of two acrobats, with one hare acrobatically balanced on top of the other – the top assuming the position of the famed Nijinski hare, while the lower hare stands precariously on top of a barrel-shaped base. Modelling his hares into lean, sinuous forms, Flanagan succeeds in creating an innate dynamism, which flows through the present work. This sense of movement is highlighted by the hares' outstretched legs, which convey a sense of freedom and vitality, as well as a sense of daring. Paul Levy comments, ‘nothing is more free, vital, spontaneous and alive – from Aesop’s hare outrun by the tortoise to Bugs Bunny – than a capering hare. In France and most of central Europe, it is the hare that lays eggs at Easter and so promises renewal. In fact, Flanagan’s hares do not carry much of this historic symbolic freight; they simply frolic freely and expressively. They don’t symbolise life, they live it’ (P. Levy, quoted in exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan: Linear Sculptures in Bronze and Stone Carvings, London, Waddington Galleries, 2004, n.p.).

In the present work, Flanagan places his two hares in the role of acrobats or tumblers, their expressions and characteristics relating more to human form than that of the animal. Flanagan explained, ‘I find that the hare is a rich and expressive form that can carry the conventions of the cartoon and the attributes of the human into the animal world. So I use the hare as a surrogate or as a vehicle to entertain in a way. The abstract realm that sculpture somehow demands is a very awkward way to work, so I abstract myself from the human figure, choosing the hare to behave as a human occasionally’ (B. Flanagan, quoted in E. Juncosa (ed.), exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan: Sculptures 1965-2005, Dublin, Museum of Art and City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, 2006, p. 65). By choosing his hare to behave as a ‘human’, Flanagan transcends the constraints of academicism, freeing his work from immediate sentiment or sexuality, allowing his hares to become both a personification of, and a symbol for, humanity. Tim Hilton explains, ‘The hare is used to make a connection between the particular and the numinous. It can be thought of as personal, or a person: or as a symbol for a person; or a symbol for some universal principle’ (T. Hilton, ‘Less a slave of other people’s thinking…’, in exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan Sculpture, London, British Council, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1983, p. 14).

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

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