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Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
Property from a Chicago Collection
Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)

Geometric Figure with Space and Concave

Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
Geometric Figure with Space and Concave
signed, numbered, dated and inscribed 'Archipenko 5/8 F 1920 Paris' (on the right side of the base); inscribed 'CONCAVE OF L'ESPACE' (on the back of the base)
bronze with dark blue and green patina
Height: 25 7/8 in. (65.6 cm.)
Conceived in 1920; this bronze version cast by the estate of the artist
Kovler Gallery, Chicago.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner, by October 1969.
M. Raynal, A. Archipenko, Rome, 1923, p. 14, no. 26 (plaster version illustrated; titled Femme assise).
A. Archipenko, Fifty Creative Years, 1908-1958, New York, 1960, no. 178 (terracotta version illustrated; titled Geometric Figure Seated).
A. Barth, Alexander Archipenkos, plastisches Oeuvre, Frankfurt, 1997, p. 218, no. 106 (another cast illustrated, p. 219; titled Geometric Figure Seated).
Chicago, Kovler Gallery, Archipenko, Content and Continuity, 1908-1963, 1968, p. 51, no. 19 (illustrated and illustrated again, p. 25, pl. 17).

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Vanessa Fusco
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Lot Essay

Frances Archipenko Gray has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Archipenko has been lauded as the leading and most influential sculptor of the pre-war Paris avant-garde, creating a new unique modernist language which would leave a lasting legacy on twentieth-century sculpture. Christa Lichtenstern has written, “The esteem in which Archipenko was held as sculptor, first in Germany and later in the United States, reinforces his position as a unique modernist phenomenon in the history of sculpture” (Canto d’Amore, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Basel, 1996, p. 152).
Closely allied with Paris's artistic vanguard, Archipenko was among the earliest sculptors to attempt a truly three-dimensional equivalent of Cubism and among the first to produce sculpture by means of assemblage. Influenced by the Cubist notion of integrating the figure with surrounding space, Archipenko embraced negative space as an active element of sculptural articulation, imbuing it with equal value. By introducing the void as a positive element in sculpture, he helped change the traditional concept of sculptural form in the early twentieth century. Drawing a new equivalent between the dialectics of plane and shadow and the play of presence and absence implied by concave and convex shapes, Archipenko incorporated light into his sculpture. This was important in perceiving the human form as it added an element of dynamism to his work, which emphasized their effects of movement and life.
Donald H. Karshan, the foremost scholar of Archipenko's work, has remarked, "When reviewing Archipenko's oeuvre before World War I...we are able to arrive at the following conclusion: …the Ukrainian émigré, virtually on his own, established an entire new vocabulary for twentieth-century sculpture" (Archipenko International Visionary, Washington, D.C., 1969, pp. 28-29). Archipenko is regarded by critics as a great inventor of sculptural forms who exercised a powerful influence on the art of our century.

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