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Union (Horse with Two Discs)

Union (Horse with Two Discs)
signed, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'Christopher le Brun/ 1/3' (on the base to the rear of horse)
bronze with a black patina
183 1/2 in. (466 cm.) wide
Conceived in 2000-2001 and cast by AB Foundry, London, in 2001.
with New Art Centre, Roche Court, where purchased by Robin and Rupert Hambro in October 2006.
Exhibition catalogue, Christopher Le Brun: Paintings and Sculpture, London, Marlborough Fine Art, 2001, n.p., no. 13, illustrated.
N. Watkins, 'Christopher Le Brun, painter-sculptor', Sculpture Journal (Vol. 21, Issue 1), 2012, pp. 84-5, illustrated.
Roche Court, New Art Centre (in association with Marlborough Fine Art), Christopher Le Brun: Painting and Sculpture, November - December 2001, no. 13.
Tetbury, Highgrove House, 2002 - 2005.
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

Amelia Walker
Amelia Walker Director, Specialist Head of Private & Iconic Collections

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Lot Essay

In an interview Christopher Le Brun said:

‘When you talk about horses and riders in my work, it's important to me that they are not seen as real… The motif creates some kind of psychological field, so I think of it as an entrance, or a key, to the place that I want to enter. It’s as if ‘the horse’ enables the journey, rather than providing the final subject’ (C. Le Brun, quoted in C. Saumarez Smith, Christopher Le Brun, London, 2001, p. 224.)

A commission from Madeleine Bessborough of the New Art Centre in 1999 led Le Brun to transform the central image from the painting Union (1984), into his first monumental sculpture - the present work. The hybrid, half San Marco, half romantic charger, huge in the stillness of darkened bronze, restrained by, rather than drawing, the giant discs, straddles the divide between the formal and symbolic, between movement and stasis. The painterly process was reversed. An image that arose intuitively out of the process of painting, where an actual brushstroke had suggested the blaze down the horse’s head, instead began with the image.

In adapting painterly concerns to sculpture Le Brun denied many of the assumptions of modern sculpture. He had always found that he was made restless on the subject of sculpture in that as soon as he began making it people were quick to remind him that it was three-dimensional and not two: ‘In other words I was doing it partly to experience my reaction brought from painting that there was a single pre-eminent view.’ For example, the front view of Union, he maintains, ‘displays a symbolic tension that some other views contradict(Le Brun quoted in N. Watkins, 'Christopher Le Brun, painter-sculptor', Sculpture Journal, 2012, p. 85).

Le Brun studied in London at the Slade School of Art and at Chelsea College of Art. One of the leading British artists of his generation, and celebrated internationally since the 1980s, he makes both figurative and abstract work in painting, sculpture and print. He has received numerous major commissions, including from The Royal Opera House, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and the National Portrait Gallery. Another cast from this edition is displayed on the Barbican Highwalk at London Wall, beside the entrance to the Museum of London.

Please note that this work will be exhibited in St. James's Square for the duration of the pre-sale viewing 3-7 June 2023.

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