Estate of the artist
Metro Pictures, New York, 1983
Private Collection, New Jersey
Anon. sale; Christie's New York, 5 May 1992, lot 49.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Property from a California Collection
It is rare that two exceptional works by Eva Hesse, each highlighting a pivotal moment in her career, are brought together at auction. In her brief and tragically curtailed career, Hesse struggled to move beyond traditional notions of painting and sculpture, creating extraordinary physical entities that she termed "non-art". She achieved her unique vision through an astonishing daring and heightened sensitivity towards diverse and often untraditional materials. Alternatively pushing such media to their limits and allowing them to act according to their internal dynamics, she nurtured art in the subliminal spaces between control and freedom, knowledge and chance experimentation, coherence and fragmentation.
An early work, A Ear in a Pond (1965) was conceived on the cusp of Hesse's mature breakthrough and contains the seeds of her iconic imagery and obsessive processes that flowered in her subsequent efforts. Negotiating between two- and three-dimensions via its painted wall-mounted base and protruding pink cord, this hybrid construct features the ongoing engagement between painting and sculpture that recurs throughout Hesse's oeuvre. Germinating her now familiar sexualized iconography, this semi-organic, semi-mechanical reproductive crossbreed bears the visceral tactility and human vulnerability of subsequent works including Study for Repetition Nineteen II (1967).
In merely five years between 1965 through her untimely death at age thirty-four in 1970, Hesse succeeded in becoming a pioneering force in Post-War art. She changed the course of sculpture through her unorthodox inclusiveness of materials and fanatic interest in their physical manipulation. Her amorphous, irrational, strangely beautiful, and yet unclassifiable creations speak of her idiosyncratic genius; their fragility of her quickly extinguished flame. Christie's is proud to offer two outstanding works by this fearlessly innovative artist who conquered the insurmountable difficulties of her life through a rich legacy in art.
E. Johnson, Eva Hesse: A Retrospective of teh Drawings, Oberlin, 1982, p. 19, no. 11 (illustrated). L. Lippard, Eva Hesse, New York, 1976, p. 40, no. 49 Untitled i
R. Pincus Witten and L. Shearer, Eva Hesse: A Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1972, p. 3 (illustrated). B. Barrette, Eva Hesse: Sculpture catalogue raisonné, New York, 1989, p. 24, no. 3 (illustrated in color and again p. 18). Eva Hesse, exh. cat., Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, 1993, p. 168 (illustrated).
Düsseldorf, Kunstrevein für Rheinlande and Westfahlen, Materialbilderund Zeichningen, Eva Hesse, August-October 1965, (cover of exhibition brochure).
West Germany, Kettwig an der Ruhr, Tom Doyle and Eva Hesse, Isabel and F. Arnhard Scheidt Residence, May 1965.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Eva Hesse, February-May 2002, p. 160, pl. 40 (illustrated in color).