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GAN (Gösta Adrian-Nilsson; Swedish, 1884-1965)
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GAN (Gösta Adrian-Nilsson; Swedish, 1884-1965)

Harlekin-Robot (für Ursula)

GAN (Gösta Adrian-Nilsson; Swedish, 1884-1965)
Harlekin-Robot (für Ursula)
signed with the monogram 'GA-N' (at the back); dated '20 7 22' (at the front of the base)
painted wood and cork with screws and metal coil
Height: 26 3/8 in. (67 cm.)
Executed in 1922
Egon Östlund, Böras, Sweden.
Kunsthandel von Bartha, Basel.
N. Lindgren, Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, Stockholm, 1949 (illustrated p. 169).
J. Cambert, Carlsundstudier, Norrköping, 1982, p. 154.
Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, Den gudomliga geometrien, Lund, 1984.
J.T. Ahstrand, 'GAN, Gösta Adrian-Nilsson: modernistpionjären frän, Lund, 1985.
L. Rosenstock, 'Die Erschaffung der Welt', in exh. cat. Primitivismus in der Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1985, p. 494.
H. Palmsköld, I Konstenstecken, Halmstad, 1990, (illustrated p. 65).
Stockholm, Art Fair Exhibition (organised by Otto G. Carlsund), Art Concret, 1930.
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, GAN Retrospective, 1958, no. 373.
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall and Malmö, Konsthall, GAN Centennial Exhibition, 1984, no. 178 (illustrated p. 76).
Altenburg, Lindenau-Museum, Internationale Sprachen der Kunst: Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen der Klassischen Moderne aus der Sammlung Hoh, August - October 1998, no. 23 (illustrated pp. 71 & 73); this exhibition later travelled to Osnabrück, Kulturgeschichtliches Museum Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall and Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
Stockholm, Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening, 20-tal-med fro pa framtiden, October - November 1999.
Halmstad, Mjellby Konstmuseum Halmstadgruppens Museum, Otto G. Carlsund, June - August 2004 (illustrated p. 116).
Hamburg, Ernst Barlach Haus, Stiftung Hermann F. Reemtsma, Kunst ohne Grenzen, Werke der Internationalen Avantgarde von 1910 bis 1940 aus der Sammlung Hoh, January - April 2005, no. 25 (illustrated p. 47).
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Lot Essay

Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, known by his initials GAN, had acquainted himself with the latest tendencies of the European avant-garde through Herwarth Walden's Galerie Der Sturm during his visits to Germany between 1912 and 1914. Inspired by what he saw in Berlin, the artist adopted a Cubist-Futurist style of painting that focused on the modern metropolis and sought to unite Futurism's machine worship with Kandinsky's esoteric thought. GAN's dynamic, geometrically determined reflections on contemporary urban existence secured his reputation as the first artist to introduce abstract art to Sweden. In 1920, GAN moved to Paris where he began experimenting with painted wooden reliefs and sculpture. In Paris, GAN established friendships with Albert Gleizes, Alexander Archipenko and crucially, Fernand Léger, who fueled his fascination with modern technology. GAN was living with Léger in his Montparnasse studio at the time of Harlekin-Robot's production in 1922 and robotic human form of the sculpture clearly reveals the influence the French painter. This hybrid between abstracted human contours and mechanical apparatus is a celebration of the industrial age, a mute and obedient android wired for action. Alongside his interest in technological advancement, it is also highly probable that GAN took an interest in primitive art-forms at this time. Whilst GAN was working on Harlekin-Robot, Léger was engaged in designing costumes and sets for the 1923 La création du monde, a ballet based on African creation myths, and the sculpture appears to share an affinity with the stylized visages of African masks. A photograph taken in the artist's studio by André Kertész reveals a more recognisably human study for the present sculpture, whose pronounced planar features further emphasize the impact of tribal art on GAN's work. The rhythmically composed Harlekin-Robot refines and abstracts these modern and ancient influences, creating a totemic, pseudo-mechanical being that enforces the artist's reverential belief in the machine as a positive and constructive force in human society.

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