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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… 顯示更多 THE EYE OF A SCULPTOR: WORKS FROM THE DAVID AND LAURA FINN COLLECTION

The Pentacle

The Pentacle
signed, numbered and incised with foundry mark ‘G. Richier 0/6 Valsuani cire perdue’ (on the base)
bronze with black patina
32 1/4 x 14 1/8 x 8 7/8in. (81.9 x 35.9 x 22.5cm.)
Conceived in 1954, this work is from an edition of twelve proofs: 1/6 to 6/6, HC1, HC2, HC3, EA, 0/6 and 00/6
Henri Creuzevault, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1960s.
J. Grenier, 'Germaine Richier, Sculpteur du Terrible', in L'OEil, September 1955, pp. 26-31, no. 9.
D. Chevalier, 'Un grand sculpteur: Germaine Richier', in Prestige Français et Mondanités, September 1956, pp. 60-65, no. 19.
A. Chastel, 'Au Musée d'Art Moderne: Germaine Richier, la puissance et le malaise', in Le Monde, October 1956.
D. Chevalier, 'Dans son atelier, vaste forêt de plâtres et de bronzes, Germaine Richier, chef d'école, sculpte les grands mythes sylvestres', in Femme, October-November 1956, pp. 81-83.
M. Conil-Lacoste, 'Germaine Richier ou la confusion des règnes', in Cahiers du Sud, February 1957, pp. 307-311.
Germaine Richier, exh cat., Cagnes-sur-Mer, Château-musée Grimaldi, 1959.
C. Roger-Marx, 'Cette héritière inspirée des grands maîtres: Germaine Richier', in Le Figaro Littéraire, August 1959.
Galerie Creuzevault (ed.), Germaine Richier: 1904-1959, Paris 1966 (another example illustrated, unpaged).
E. Crispolti, I maestri della scultura, Milan 1968, pp. 50-52, no. 65.
M. Conil-Lacoste, Nouveau dictionnaire de la sculpture moderne, Paris 1970, pp. 262-264.
J-L. Ferrier and Y. Le Pichon, 'Adieu à Germaine Richier Sculpture, 1959', in L'aventure de l'art au XXème siècle, Paris 1988, p. 563.
London, The Hanover Gallery, Germaine Richier, 1955, no. 6 (another example exhibited).
Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Germaine Richier, 1956, no. 60, pl. XV (another from the edition exhibited).
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Sculpture by Germaine Richier, 1958, no. 19 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Boston, University School of Fine and Applied Arts, Sculpture by Germaine Richier, 1959, no. 27 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Antibes, Musée Picasso, Germaine Richier, 1959, no. 86 (another from the edition exhibited).
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Germaine Richier, 1963 (another example exhibited).
Arles, Musée Réattu, Germaine Richier, 1964, no. 46 (another from the edition exhibited).
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Germaine Richier, 1966 (another example exhibited, illustrated).
Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, In the Mind's Eye: Dada and Surrealism, 1984-1985 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated).
Humlebaeck, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Germaine Richier, 1988, pp. 8-17, no. 25 (another from the edition exhibited).
London, Tate Gallery, Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism, 1945-1955, 1993, pp. 161-162, no. 102 (another from the edition exhibited).
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Germaine Richier Rétrospective, 1996, pp. 136, 138 and 207, no. 75 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 137; detail illustrated in colour, p. 139).
Bâle, Galerie Krugier, 1994 (another example exhibited).
Berlin, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Germaine Richier, 1997, p. 193, no. 66 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated, pp. 98-99).
Isle-sur-La-Sorgue, Musée Campredon, Bourdelle et ses élèves: Giacometti, Richier et Gutfreund, 1998-1999, no. 107 (another example exhibited, illustrated). This exhibition later travelled to Paris, Musée Bourdelle and Prague, Czech Museum of Fine Arts.
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Le Nu au XXème siècle, 2000-2001, no. 131 (another example exhibited, illustrated).
Venice, The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Richier, 2006-2007, pp. 37, 84 and 85 (another example exhibited, illustrated in colour).
Clermont-Ferrand, Frac Auverge, Un corps inattendu, 2011 (another example exhibited).
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Germaine Richier Retrospective, 2013-2014, no. 60 (another example exhibited).

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 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.
Christie’s has a direct financial interest in this lot. Christie’s has guaranteed to the seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee


Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Auction


A haunting apparition in scarred and textured bronze, The Pentacle (1954) is a powerful example of Germaine Richier’s sculptural practice. One of the most important sculptors in postwar France, Richier’s works reflected the existential angst of her era: the present figure, with his broken, cyclopean head, spindly arms and scored skin, appears as a wrecked being walking into an uncertain future. The concentric lines that inscribe his abdomen and back invoke the protective talismanic symbol of the work’s title. His upright pose strikes a poignant, gently humorous note of defiance. Unlike her contemporaries Alberto Giacometti and Jean Fautrier—or, indeed, the British ‘Geometry of Fear’ sculptors such as Reg Butler and Lynn Chadwick, upon whom she had a great influence—Richier consistently observed her figures from life. The model for the present work was Libero Nardone, who was also the subject of Richier’s masterpiece LOrage (Storm Man) (1947-1948, Tate), and as a much younger man had modelled for Auguste Rodin. The Pentacle is an icon of Richier’s oeuvre, and has been prominently exhibited at major international retrospectives across Europe and the United States over the past half-century.

By working with Nardone, the model who had posed for such iconic works as Rodin’s The Kiss and Monument to Balzac some five decades earlier, Richier consciously placed her work in dialogue with the modern master of monumental sculpture. The link was more than incidental: after studying at the École des Beaux Arts in Montepellier, Richier had spent a formative three years working with the influential sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, who himself had been taught by Rodin. She remained in Bourdelle’s Paris studio until his death in 1929, encountering other students of his including Giacometti and Henri Matisse. Richier spent the war years in Provence and Switzerland; it was upon her return to Paris in the postwar years that she arrived at her signature style.

While The Pentacle invokes her antecedents, Richier’s radical treatment of the figure also makes a stylistic break with the past. Her model himself is ravaged by time—a man now in his eighties, paunchy and frail compared to the muscular young body Rodin had observed—and the sculpture’s rough, pitted and incised surface posits a state of degradation, picturing the philosophical malaise that hung over Paris after the Second World War. In her earlier responses to the conflict, Richier had created human-animal hybrids in works such as La Mante (The Praying Mantis) (1947), a frightening creature that embodies the aggression and inhumanity the world had witnessed. Over the ensuing years, however, she shifted her focus to entirely human figures, reaffirming her commitment to working from nature. For all his precarity, The Pentacle’s figure holds himself with a touching dignity, and his scarified physique is charged with a compressed sense of energy. It is an image of violence, but also of fortitude and survival. ‘The further I go,’ Richier wrote to her husband Otto Charles Bänninger in 1956, ‘the more certain I am that only the human counts’ (G. Richier, quoted in V. da Costa, Germaine Richier: Un art entre deux mondes, Paris 2006, p. 14).

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