Sotheby’s Auctioneers Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition

. August 19, 2009

Sotheby’s has announced that following the enormous popularity and success of its Beyond Limits exhibitions at Chatsworth over the last three years, it will return to Derbyshire this autumn for a fourth installation of modern and contemporary sculpture set against the picturesque gardens of the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Beyond Limits is currently in the process of being installed, with new works arriving and being placed in to position on a weekly – and sometimes daily – basis. The exhibition will open to the public on Monday, September 14, 2009 and will run until Sunday, November 1. This year will be Sotheby’s largest and most diverse selling exhibition of sculpture at Chatsworth to date.

Henry Moore
Henry Moore’s (1898-1986) Three Piece Reclining Figure: Draped from 1975 is another highlight of the exhibition. Photo: Sotheby’s

As public art thrives and flourishes – and debate around it gains an ever higher profile – so Sotheby’s Beyond Limits exhibition continues to evolve and in recent years it has firmly established itself on the arts calendar and as one of the most prestigious platforms for displaying modern and contemporary outdoor sculpture. The forthcoming exhibition will showcase an exciting array of sculpture by both classic Modern names and more cutting-edge Contemporary artists. The works will have an international feel; the home-grown UK talents of Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Marc Quinn and Richard Hudson will be exhibited alongside examples by artists from France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, China, India, Japan, Taiwan, the US, Canada, Columbia and Israel.

Commenting on the exhibition, Alexander Platon, a Director in Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department, who has curated the exhibition in recent years, states: “Beyond Limits continues to be fantastically well received and we are therefore delighted to be staging our fourth exhibition at Chatsworth, particularly at a time when discussion and debate around large-scale public sculpture is more topical than ever before. This year’s exhibition is our largest and most diverse yet and we are thrilled with its sheer range, beauty, colour and international make-up. To the spectacular backdrop of Chatsworth we are bringing an inspiring mix of classical and iconic works of art as well as cutting-edge names from countries as far afield as India, China, Taiwan and Poland.”

The Duke of Devonshire states: “We are so pleased to be staging another Beyond Limits exhibition in the garden at Chatsworth this autumn, and the Duchess and I are thrilled to have – in particular – such an excellent view of Henry Moore’s Three piece reclining figure: draped from our drawing room. It is one of the standout pieces of all the Beyond Limits shows. There are, as always, a great variety of fascinating and spectacular works throughout the garden, every one of which we are thoroughly enjoying”.

A life-size maquette for the world-renowned Angel of the North by Antony Gormley (b. 1950) is one of the undoubted star attractions and takes prime position at the end of Chatsworth’s majestic Canal Pond. Arguably the most widely recognisable public sculpture in the UK, Gormley’s Angel of the North has become an icon of the modern, industrial age. The 1:10 scale cast-iron maquette dates to 1997 and is the second cast in an edition of five. The maquette marks a definitive stage in the development of Gormley’s iconic sculpture as it transcended from human to gargantuan proportions. The Angel takes as its principal concern the concept of the human condition and man’s will to overcome the barriers of terrestrial existence. Gormley states: “The Angel was designed to mark a place and try to connect the earth and sky through its body.”

Henry Moore’s (1898-1986) Three Piece Reclining Figure: Draped from 1975 is another highlight of the exhibition. The sculpture’s organic and fecund contours were inspired by the artist’s acute appreciation of the sculptural tradition – especially that of early Greek and ancient Mexican carvings – tempered by his profound sensitivity to natural landscapes and objects. The reclining female figure played an important role in Moore’s vast oeuvre and Three Piece Reclining Figure: Draped is an exceptional example of this seminal motif.

Marc Quinn’s (b. 1964) monumental Archaeology of Desire is based upon a naturalistic Phalaenopsis, a genus of the orchid family, which has been rendered in exquisite detail. The delicate petals defy the properties of the bronze medium in which they are cast to appear almost weightless and ethereal. On an immense scale – the sculpture measures 2.5 metres in height – the flower takes on an ominous presence, resembling the wings of the Phalaena moth from which the orchid takes its name. The work belongs to a series of sculptures and paintings through which the artist explores the concept of ideal beauty, especially through genetic modification.

International highlights:
Artists from some 14 countries will be represented in this year’s show and these include a strong contingent of works by Hispanic and Asian artists.

Spain’s Manolo Valdés (b. 1942) leads the Hispanic offerings alongside works by fellow Spaniard Jaume Plensa (b. 1955) and Columbia’s Fernando Botero (b. 1932). Valdés is represented by two monumental bronzes, Mariposas (Butterflies) and Ariadna I, and he is quoted as saying: “Seeing my work in such a spectacular setting is very rewarding. It is seldom that one may find such an ideal place as Chatsworth to show this type of art (Sotheby’s at Auction, September 2009).”

Botero’s Dancers depicting an embracing couple has been installed high up on the Broad Walk commanding views over the Derwent valley, while a specially commissioned series of six net curtains, made up of characters from the alphabet and entitled Song of Songs, will be installed in the hitherto moribund octagonal game larder built by the 9th Duke.

Asian artists are represented by China’s Zhan Wang (b. 1962), India’s Subodh Gupta (b. 1964), Japan’s Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) and Taiwan’s Ju Ming (b. 1938) while Igor Mitoraj (b. 1944) – the internationally renowned Polish sculptor – is the exhibition’s first-ever Eastern European artist. Tragic and beautiful, his classicising sculptures question the often perilous relationship between strength and virility on the one hand, and the fragility of the human condition on the other.

Category: Auction News

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