Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Tony Cragg (b. 1949)
Tony Cragg (b. 1949)
Tony Cragg (b. 1949)
2 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Tony Cragg (b. 1949)

Good Face

Tony Cragg (b. 1949)
Good Face
incised with the artist's signature 'Cragg' and stamped with the foundry mark and date ‘2007 KAYSER DÜSSELDORF’ (lower edge)
bronze with black patina
80 ¾ x 43 3/8 x 43 3/8in. (205 x 110 x 110cm.)
Executed in 2007
Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist in 2009).
Anon. sale, Sotheby’s London, 1 July 2014, lot 418.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Tony Cragg: Second Nature, 2009, no. 187 (illustrated in colour, pp. 220 & 221). This exhibition later travelled to Salzburg, Museum der Moderne am Mönchsberg.
Merano, Merano Arte, Edificio Cassa di Risparmio, Tony Cragg: in 4D, From Flux to Stability, 2011 (illustrated in colour, pp. 146-148).
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.

Brought to you by

Victoria Gramm
Victoria Gramm Co-Head of Sale

Lot Essay

‘The main concern in these works is the relationship between that which we call geometric and that which we call organic. Both being aesthetic descriptions of the physical world. The human figure is obviously an organic form but there are many geometries in it - our organs, bone structure, cells and molecules’ – Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg’s Good Face is twisting, writhing form, a fragmented being rising from a tempest of bronze. Created in 2007, the work is part of Cragg’s series Rational Beings, which probes the relationship between what is logically and mathematically constructed, and the fluidity of emotion. For Cragg, the human being is the clearest illustration of this opposition, at once expressive and capable of great pathos, and rigorously regimented by a biological determination. To create his abstracted forms, Cragg uses formulas to distort his figures so that only the vaguest hint of a face can be seen in the columnar sculptures. Part of the enchantment of Good Face lies in its rich tactility, and the darkened bronze almost glows. It seems an act of magic, to change bronze into a rich, liquid black, yet material transformation is characteristic for Cragg, who believes that ‘material is everything’. As he has noted, ‘We consist of material and … so I can’t think of any reality that isn’t material. That includes light and electricity as phenomena of the material, that includes the thought processes of our intellects which are also properties of material, that includes our emotions, which are also caused… by highly evolved material processes’ (T. Cragg, quoted in Tony Cragg, In and Out of Material, exh. cat., Akademie der Künste, Berlin 2006, p. 12). These material connections are what links the duelling forces of the Rational Beings, acutely felt in Good Face. Defying gravity yet governed by a centrifugal force, the life-size sculpture seems at once a chance product and a material’s destiny.

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale

View All
View All