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PhILLIPS de PUry & COMPANy
AUCTION 7 JUNE 2011 LONDON
GENEVA VIEWING 13–16 MAy 2011
Opening hours 10am–7pm
LOCATION Phillips de Pury & Company 23, Quai Des Bergues, Geneva,
Switzerland, 1201 PhILLIPSDEPUry.COM
213.00ct emeralds, diamond weight 135.0ct. Origin of emeralds: Old Mine Colombian, fully certificated by S.S.E.F., Basel, April 2011.
Estimate: £1,600,000 – 2,000,000 Editor’s letter
B A M FORD
: G E OR
(2010) by Mauro Perucchetti (b. 1949) installed at Marble Arch, London, earlier this year Photo: Halcyon Gallery, London P H OTO
1 The monumental Jelly Baby Family
Ambitious form This issue of Apollo focuses on sculpture, widely considered the high- est of the arts until the Renaissance. Through its three-dimensional lifelikeness and subtle emotional and spiritual resonance, ‘oldfashioned’ sculpture can still amaze and inspire. Nonetheless, the 17th-century Spanish polychrome sculptures shown in ‘The Sacred Made Real’ – Apollo’s exhibition of the year in 2010 – would have affected contemporary churchgoers in ways that we 21st-century, increasingly secular art lovers find difficult to evoke. Those works served as spiritual propaganda, whereas modern sculpture is more often made for art’s sake, its agenda determined by the sculptor.
This new purpose is discussed herein by Sir Anthony Caro, in an interview with Martin Gayford. Caro is probably the last great living British sculptor of his generation. While his abstract sculpture is central to the history of post-war British Modernism, it also has a symbiotic relationship with that of American contemporaries such as David Smith (1906–65). In this article we see inside Caro’s studio as he talks about the distinction between sculpture and everyday objects.
Sculpture is often more controversial than painting, due not only to its populist tendencies but also to its capacity to inhabit outdoor spaces. Over-zealous local planning authorities and government officials are forever commissioning and erecting public sculpture – frequently in questionable taste. Recently very lost while driving from Florence to a small town in Chianti, I found myself passing through endless roundabouts, each crowned with some overgrown and neglected monstrosity in a sub-Arnaldo Pomodoro style. Sadly, such folly continues to this day: apart from the exciting, controversial Fourth Plinth project in Trafalgar Square, London’s most recent and prominent new sculptural landmarks – Mauro Perucchetti’s Jelly Baby Family (2010; Fig. 1) at Marble Arch and Lorenzo Quinn’s Vroom Vroom (2011) on Park Lane – continue what is, to my mind, a sad tradition of favouring ‘wow factor’ over legitimate and lasting artistic merit.
That said, the two criteria are not always mutually exclusive, as attested by the remarkable career of John Kaldor, a collector and patron whose public projects have changed the landscape of contemporary art in Australia. The first of these, in 1969, saw Christo and Jean-Claude wrap a 2.5-kilometre length of Sydney’s coastline in fabric and rope.
The materials from which sculpture has traditionally been hewn – wood, metal, stone – seem to have imbued expectations of its subject matter and function with a similar quality of weightiness. Yet nowadays in the West, for better or worse, we increasingly lack the ‘ready-made’ mythological /religious themes that so captivated past cultures. Thus cast adrift, modern sculpture is more susceptible to both pomposity and frivolity. Thankfully, however, pioneers like John Kaldor have shown that it can be at once meaningful and thrillingly contemporary. o Oscar Humphries, Editor may 2011 apollo 15