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Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
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Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
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Property from the Collection of Alvin and Mary Bert Gutman
Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)

Turning Torso

Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
Turning Torso
signed, dated, numbered, stamped with foundry mark and inscribed with the artist's symbol 'Archipenko 1921 2/8 .MODERN ART FOUNDRY. .NEW YORK. .N.Y..' (on the back)
bronze with green and brown patina
Height: 27 ¾ in. (70.3 cm.)
Conceived in 1921; this bronze version cast in 1963
Galerie Welz, Salzburg.
Acquired from the above by the late owners, August 1968.
E. Wiese, Alexander Archipenko, Leipzig, 1923, no. XV (marble version illustrated; dated 1922).
H. Hildebrandt, intro., Alexander Archipenko, Berlin, 1923, no. 28 (marble version illustrated; dated 1912 and titled Grey Torso).
A. Archipenko, Archipenko: Fifty Creative Years, 1908-1958, New York, 1960 (marble version illustrated, pl. 118; dated 1922).
P. Vogt, Das Museum Folkwang Essen, Cologne, 1965, no. 77 (another cast illustrated; dated 1922).
D.H. Karshan, ed., Archipenko: International Visionary, Washington, D.C., 1969, pp. 62 and 114, no. 38 (another cast illustrated, pl. 81).
D.H. Karshan, Archipenko: The Sculpture and Graphic Art, Including a Print Catalogue Raisonné, Boulder, 1975, p. 99 (marble version illustrated; dated 1922).
W. Schnell, Der Torso als Problem der Modernen Kunst, Berlin, 1980, p. 126 (another cast illustrated, no. 174).
H. Schmoll gen. Eisenwerth and A. Heilmann, Alexander Archipenko: Werke von 1908 bis 1963 aus dem testamentarischen Vermächtnis, Saarbrücken, 1986, vol. I, p. 106, no. 46 (smaller version illustrated, p. 109).
A. Barth, Alexander Archipenkos plastisches oeuvre, Frankfurt, 1997, vol. II, p. 252, no. 128 (another cast illustrated, p. 253).
Salzburg, Galerie Welz, Meister des 20. Jhdts: Gemälde, Plastik, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, summer 1968, no. 1 (illustrated, p. 43).

Lot Essay

Frances Archipenko Gray has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Turning Torso was conceived during a significant time in Archipenko's career, the year before he left Paris, via Berlin, for America. Closely allied with Paris's artistic vanguard, Archipenko was among the earliest sculptors to attempt a three-dimensional equivalent of Cubism and to produce sculpture by means of assemblage. Donald Karshan, the foremost scholar of Archipenko's work, remarked, "When reviewing Archipenko's oeuvre before World War I...confining the analysis to just a three-year period from 1910 to 1913 when Archipenko was in his early twenties, we are able to arrive at the following conclusion: during this brief period, the Ukrainian émigré, virtually on his own, established an entire new vocabulary for twentieth-century sculpture" (op. cit., 1969, pp. 28-29). Indeed, Archipenko is regarded by critics not only as an artist but also as an inventor of sculptural forms, one who exercised a powerful influence on the art of the 20th century, as arguably no sculptor has in his own time since Auguste Rodin.
From the early 1920s onward, Archipenko refined his forms into a classicizing naturalism, beautifully exemplified in the present work. He turned to traditional sculptural materials such as bronze, marble and ceramics to produce more restrained and elegant works. The truncated base of the present figure extends upward into a sweeping and voluptuous form. The precarious angle of the shoulders perfectly balances with the sway of the figure's hips; the triangular outline of the upper torso is inverted and echoed in the stance of the figure's rotating pelvis.
As scholar Stanley Casson observed in 1930, "The full genesis of this new style will not be apparent for many years to come...But from the history of the evolution of Archipenko's own style, we can at least guess what has been stirring. An abandonment of the traditional academic system of proportions, a free research into the formal sculpture of the past, and a selection from various periods of antiquity have at last given modern artists a synthesis that is in no sense archaism or pastiche. Modern taste is in love with the formal, and, in a sense, with the austere. But it demands also grace and lightheartedness. Thus the figures of Archipenko, reminiscent actually of nothing in the past, yet derived from the simple outlines of Greek, Egyptian and Byzantine sculpture. If art is to be creative it must create—and often, as with some of Archipenko's torsos, is created better than nature" (quoted in A. Archipenko, op. cit., p. 73).

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