Barry Flanagan, R.A. (1941-2009)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Barry Flanagan, R.A. (1941-2009)

Boxing Hare on Anvil

Barry Flanagan, R.A. (1941-2009)
Boxing Hare on Anvil
stamped with monogram, numbered and stamped with foundry mark ‘5/5 AA LONDON’ (on the top of the anvil)
bronze with a black patina
122¼ in. (310.5 cm.) high
Conceived in 1989 and cast in 1990 in an edition of five, plus two artist’s casts.
with Waddington Galleries, London, where purchased by a private British collection, 1991.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 25 May 2011, lot 88, where purchased by the present owner.
Exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan, London, Waddington Galleries, 1990, pp. 12-13, no. 5, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan, Canada, Montreal, Landau Fine Art, 1992, pp. 10-11, exhibition not numbered, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan: Skulpturen, Dusseldorf, Galerie Hans Mayer, 1997, n.p., exhibition not numbered, another cast illustrated.
E. Juncosa (ed.), exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan Sculpture: 1965-2005, Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 106, another cast illustrated.
Z. Sardar and M. Brenner, New Garden Design: Inspiring Private Paradises, 2008, another cast illustrated.
London, Waddington Galleries, Barry Flanagan, May - June 1990, no. 5.
Canada, Montreal, Landau Fine Art, Barry Flanagan, October - December 1992, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited, catalogue not traced.
Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, Barry Flanagan Recent Sculpture, 1994, ex-catalogue, another cast exhibited.
Iowa, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Barry Flanagan: Recent Sculpture, June - July 1995, another cast exhibited, catalogue not traced.
Chicago, Grant Park, in collaboration with Richard Gray Gallery, Barry Flanagan: Sculpture in Grant Park, May - September 1996, another cast exhibited, exhibition not numbered.
Dusseldorf, Galerie Hans Mayer, Barry Flanagan: Skulpturen, October 1997, exhibition not numbered, 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.
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William Porter
William Porter

Lot Essay

For Barry Flanagan, the subject of the hare provided a source of artistic inspiration, magnetism and mystique in his oeuvre. The genesis began in 1979 with Leaping Hare; Flanagan recounted how he was inspired after the magical experience of seeing a hare running on the Sussex Downs. He was also influenced after reading The Leaping Hare (1972), by George Ewart Evans and David Thomson, which investigated its mythological and historical associations.

Flanagan became intrigued by the symbolic, metaphorical and figurative potentiality of the hare. A symbol of life for the Egyptians; an emblem of mystic light and illumination, whilst also associated with fertility, cyclical rebirth, cunning, shape shifting and good-luck. The suggestive and mercurial power of the hare provided for Flanagan a ‘rich and expressive sort of model’, which offered him the possibility to dramatise on the hare’s inherent ‘expressive attributes of a human being’. Flanagan marvelled at the possibility the hare allowed to evoke ‘the expressive attributes of a human being’, and in particular the ears which were able to convey far more than a squint in an eye of a figure, or grimace on the face of a model' (B. Flanagan, interview with J. Bumpus, quoted in exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan: Prints 1970-1983, London, Tate Gallery, 1986, p. 15).

In Boxing Hare on Anvil the anthropomorphic allure of Flanagan’s hare is brought to the fore, as the viewer is confronted with the performative spectacle of a hare posed to fight. Anthropomorphism became ubiquitous in Flanagan’s oeuvre, and in his notebook sketches and etchings of fowl and household pets, he experimented with transferring human attributes to animals. With the sculptor’s transition into bronze casting in 1979 this was made a physical reality. The hare is both nimble and balletic with outstretched arms, raised on its hind legs, the sculpture commands the space, as the location is transformed into a site of playful combat and performance. Elongated and hieratic in form, Flanagan’s hare is akin to the elongated and sinewy figures of Giacometti. The sculpture creates a striking silhouette in-situ, Flanagan’s work is deeply engaging and delights in a charming joie de vivre, as the viewer is encouraged to occupy the space and engage with the sculpture.

Gooding sees Flanagan’s hares as ‘the image of homo ludens, emblems of creativity and of mischievous disregard for the exercise of ratiocinative thought and for regulated order’ (M. Gooding, ‘First Catch Your Hare: An Essaying in Four unequal Parts and a Coda, with a Salutation’, in E. Juncosa (ed.), exhibition catalogue, Barry Flanagan Sculpture: 1965-2005, Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 179). Gooding equates the joyful anarchy and humour of the hare with Flanagan’s art. Indeed it is possible to see a synergy between Flanagan’s sculptural aesthetic revolution and the creative freedom and cunning daring of the hare. Flanagan quickly established himself in the 1960s and 1970s as a leading figure of the avant-garde as he explored the materiality of sculpture with his ‘soft-forms’, seeking to break with tradition and formulate a new visual experience with sculpture; his mischievous and audacious approach aligned him with Arte Povera and Land Art. It is therefore easy to see how Flanagan might have seen himself as a human counterpart to the carnivalesque and performative dynamism of the hare.

In the present work, the hare agilely balanced upon the anvil seems also to symbolise the act of the sculptor craftsman, evoking the block on which metals once heated are hammered into desired shapes. Boxing Hare on Anvil therefore is imbued with Flanagan’s ontological fascination with the nature of being and existence. The anvil relates back to the act of artistic creation itself, while the hare becomes a kind of talisman for Flanagan in his quest for phantasmagorical innovation.

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

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