Lot n° 177
22000 - 25000
Result without fees
: 685 800EUR
Pierre SOULAGES (1919-2022)
Bronze, n°2, 1976
Proof in patinated and gilded bronze, signed, numbered 3/5
685 800 € TTC (Result with expenses)
Blanchet founder, Paris.
66,5 x 88 cm
- Pierre Encrevé, Soulages, l'oeuvre complet - II, 1959-1975, Seuil, 1995, a similar example described and reproduced on page 274 (with as dimensions: 66 x 88 cm).
Soulages and his approach to sculpture are perfectly described in: Interview with Pierre Soulages, Annales littéraires de l'Université de Franche-Comté-2/1999: L'art, by Jean-Michel Le Lannou :
Jean-Michel Le Lannou: What is the place of bronzes in your work?
Pierre Soulages: These bronzes all three derive from engraving plates, copper plates cut by acid, as I used to do, but always corroded to the point of being cut and also engraved according to the imprint they were going to leave on the paper, according to the inking too. They were perfectly flat, with, of course, hollows corresponding to the places where the ink was to be applied, hollows produced by the corrosion of the acid with the combination of chance and intentional things involved in the process. These flat copper plates used to print my prints had long been abandoned against a wall in the studio or on a shelf, and many people would say to me, "But they are sculptures!
But these are sculptures!" And always I would recriminate, "But no, not at all, it's not worked in that sense at all." And then one day, a very long time later, it was in the seventies, and I had been working on my engravings in this way since the fifties, I first had these plates enlarged in an absolutely mechanical and faithful way by someone whose job it is:
Aligon, who uses a kind of pantograph in three dimensions (his father or grandfather created it and enlarged many works including, among others, Rodin's "Balzac"). Once I had this object, which was only a flat plaster plate, I had it cast in bronze, hoping for some accident or transformation. When the castings came out of the mold, the heat had begun to change the flatness. It was no longer as flat and it was blackish, absolutely matte, it had the appearance of bronze as it comes out of the foundry.
It was then that I began, while polishing it, to regulate the movements of the light that came from the unevenness of the surface. I respected the organization of the hollows that I left dark, blackish. I only acted on the movement of the light on the smooth parts. The hollows coming from the engraved parts remained dark and fixed, without variations.
I only produced these three bronzes, I could have made others, but it is a rather long work, each piece being only an original proof. In sculpture "an original" is actually a small series limited to a few strictly similar pieces. Given the work I was doing, each bronze was different from the other.
My intervention was such that one can say that each piece is unique. I had forgotten this adventure from 1975 to 1977. About two years later, what happened to me when I was painting may have come from that experience.
I don't know, because I was never aware of it. Maybe I thought afterwards that this new look at black surfaces, when I thought I was in the middle of a rout, came from working with bronzes. I was wading in the dark, I was getting desperate, I had to pursue a canvas, close to the ones already produced, but after hours of work, I felt that maybe I was doing something else... And I went to sleep, and when I saw again an hour and a half later what I had done, I understood that I was doing another painting! That was the start of the period, which is still going on and which has occupied most of my paintings since 1979 until now, based on a light reflected by the surface states of black. But I am not at all sure that what one encounters with the bronzes is the origin of this - their light has nothing of the emotion created by a light emanating from black, transformed by the black that reflects it.
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