PWC Portraits Lots 123-126
Thomas Schütte (B.1954)
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Thomas Schütte (B.1954)

Wicht (Goblin)

Thomas Schütte (B.1954)

Wicht (Goblin)
stamped with the artist's initials, numbered and dated twice 'T.S. 06 3/6' and with the foundry mark 'Kayser Düsseldorf' (on the underside of the bronze)
patinated bronze and steel base
base: 12 5/8 x 19 5/8 x 12 5/8in. (32 x 50 x 32cm.)
bust: 12 ½ x 15 ¾ x 12in. (31.9 x 40 x 30.5cm.)
overall: 25 1/8 x 13 ¾ x 12 5/8in. (63.9 x 50 x 32cm.)
Executed in 2006, this work is number three from an edition of six plus two artist's proofs
Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Thomas Schütte. Hindsight, 2010 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 160; another from the edition exhibited, installation view illustrated in colour, p. 161).
Berlin, Jarla Partilager, Thomas Schütte: With Tears in My Ears, 2012-2013 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, unpaged).
Basel, Fondation Beyeler, Thomas Schütte. Figur, 2013, p. 190 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 131).
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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Rachel Boddington
Rachel Boddington

Lot Essay

‘Like gargoyles looking down from the sides of medieval cathedrals, funerary effigies in medieval churches or the cadaverous presences who inhabit the unredemptive darkness of Goya’s black paintings or Ensor’s carnivalesque processions, these sculptures of the living dead are cautionary figures for an unvirtuous age’
(J. Lingwood, quoted in Public/Political: Thomas Schütte, Germany 2012, p. 157).

In Wicht, 2006, Thomas Schütte reassesses the figurative traditions of sculpture, presenting emotionally charged observations of the human condition in the form of a roughhewn bronze bust. Executed the year after he received the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale, Wicht’s complete series of twelve busts were included in major solo exhibitions at Serpentine Gallery, London and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. The present work resembles a goblin, an ageless, timeless disturbing figure, always alert, emanating an aura of brutality. Wicht, the German word for ‘imp’, signifies the grotesque appearance of the bust. The work presents what the artist has referred to as ‘the grammar of the character’, as opposed to the mere representation of the psychological. The work relates to the art historical tradition of picturing the outsider, including Jean Dubuffet’s interest in the art of children or the insane and more closely the late studies by Thèodore Géricault of individual heads and other body parts from the morgue. Furthermore, it also echoes the post-Cubist sculptural tradition evinced in the bronze casts of Picasso, Boccioni, and Matisse.

Figuration has continued to play an important part in Schütte’s artistic practice; he revels in creating character and individuality through nuances of posture, pose and facial gesture, and is particularly interested in how these unite with certain mediums and textures to evoke a particular, instinctive response from the viewer. Schütte’s interest in working with busts dates back to the time he studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Gerhard Richter mid-1980s, when he developed an interest in the contemporary possibilities of figuration. Schütte’s satirical approach to figurative sculpture first began in 1992, prompted by a year spent living in Rome. There, he had observed the heroic status of Roman antiquity, and admired the portraits of emperors in the collection of the Capitoline Museum. The contrast between the classical icons and the realities of contemporary culture gave birth to a new sculpture vernacular within Schütte’s oeuvre. Like others from his generation, Schütte was trying to engage with the emerging focus on the body as a site of performance and ritual, as influentially positioned by Joseph Beuys who was, as much as Gerhard Richter, the spiritual influence on a young Schütte. Wicht brings together both antiquated visions of the world as well as more dystopian possibilities.

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