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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANNE AND KIRK DOUGLAS

Lying Down Horse II

Lying Down Horse II
signed and numbered 'Frink/ 1/4' (on the tail)
bronze with a dark brown patina
81 in. (205.7 cm.) long
Conceived in 1985.
Acquired directly from the artist by Anne and Kirk Douglas in 1985, and by descent.
E. Lucie-Smith, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture Since 1984 and Drawings, London, 1994, pp. 46, 182, no. SC4, another cast illustrated.
A. Ratuszniak (ed.), Elisabeth Frink: Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture 1947-93, Farnham, 2013, p. 167, no. FCR336, another cast illustrated.
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. This lot will be removed to our storage facility at Momart. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Momart. All collections from Momart will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

‘Dear Dame Elisabeth, we just wanted to let you know that “Bill” the horse has arrived. He is absolutely a first rate thoroughbred and Kirk and I are crazy about him. He is lying peacefully under a beautiful tree at our Palm Springs home.’ - Anne Douglas

Throughout her career, Elisabeth Frink’s representation of animals has become a seminal and celebrated motif. As early as the 1950s she began to explore the relationship between man and beast in her artwork. Her passion for horses in particular, stemmed from visits to stables near her childhood home in Sussex with her father, a keen amateur jockey and polo player, who taught Frink to ride at the age of four. After witnessing the distress of the Second World War on him and other returning soldiers, Frink’s initial depictions illustrated a sombre, yet trusting partnership between horse and rider, imbued with imagery of skeletal horses and warrior-like figures seemingly heading into, or returning from battle. Later sculptures such as War Horse, 1991 demonstrate the lifelong impact on the artist, while her earlier Horse and Rider bronzes from the 1970s, additionally drew inspiration from the cave paintings at Lascaux and Post-Impressionist sculptor Marino Marini.

By 1967, Frink’s frustration with the British art scene led her to relocate to the remote French landscape of Camargue where she lived and worked for six years. Surrounded by Camargue horses and other wild animals, she revisited her practice with refreshed vigour and perception. Bronzes of varying sizes were produced, with a change in her focus to capturing the strength and beauty of her subjects with much greater tenderness and spirituality. Lying Down Horse II, 1985 is a wonderful demonstration of this refreshed expression. With its legs folded gracefully under its powerful body and ears drooped backwards, the horse appears relaxed in its surroundings. It is in these expertly subtle features where we see Frink’s comprehensive understanding of her subject matter, intuitively depicting energy and character.

The disposition of Lying Down Horse II bears likeness to Frink’s later seated and standing figures, also portrayed with a feeling of ‘being’ and solitary tranquillity. Unconcerned by the precision in which she represented her subjects, the sculpture shows a further development in Frink’s approach to her sculptural practice. Working spontaneously, Frink roughly modelled plaster of Paris around a wire framework, animating the surface with deep cuts and chiselled textures. Lying Down Horse II’s broken surface and monumental scale presents the viewer with a true sense of the animal’s energy, strength and power.

The present work was the first cast of Lying Down Horse II, which was promised explicitly by the artist in 1985 to Hollywood royalty, art collectors and philanthropists Kirk and Anne Douglas, after the couple expressed their fondness to her about a similar artwork. Frink remained in touch with the Douglas’ throughout the sculpture’s production, sharing images of the plaster prior to casting the bronze. Anne too, enthusiastically shared photographs with Frink of the finished sculpture (affectionately nicknamed ‘Bill’ after Kirk’s own childhood horse) displayed in situ in their Palm Springs garden. Kirk and Anne Douglas also acquired Barking Dog, 1981, from the artist in March 1985, see Modern British Art Day Sale, 21 October 2021, lot 272.

In contrast to her horses in motion, the present work is subdued; its stillness capturing the animal in an apparent state of poignant contemplation, fully present within itself and its environment, and independent from human counterparts. The Douglas’ commented on this in their letters to Frink, fondly stating that the sculpture emulated Bill’s contentment of lying in the sun, rather than racing.

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