Naum Gabo

First Sketch for a Monument for an Institute of Physics and Mathematics


Graphite on paper
Support: 330 x 229 mm
Presented by the artist 1977

Display caption

These sketches are for works both realised and unrealised. Sketch (1917) is reminiscent of several reliefs made in the 1920s, and has been compared to Gabo's 1925 Model for 'Rotating Fountain' (on display here). Sketch (1918-19) is for a relief that would have been composed of intersecting planes protruding from a wall or reaching across a corner. Gabo's aim to make a public art that could play a role in the new society promised by the Russian Revolution is reflected by First Sketch for a Monument¿(1919) Sketch for a Kinetic Construction (1922) demonstrates his radical introduction of real movement to articulate space.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Naum Gabo 1890-1977

T02156 First Sketch for a Monument for an Institute of Physics and Mathematics 1919

Inscribed in cyrillic 'N. Gabo.. 19/Noyabr' b.r. The last word is unclear, but appears to be 'Noyabr', that is 'November'
Pencil on tracing paper with serrated left edge, irregular, 13 x 9 (33 x 23)
Presented by the artist 1977
Exh: Naum Gabo, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, April-June 1965 (t7); Kunsthalle, Mannheim, June-August 1965 (54); Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg, August-October 1965 (54); Kunsthaus, Zurich, October-December 1965 (54); Den inre och den yttre Rymden, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, January-February 1966 (114); Naum Gabo, Tate Gallery, March-April 1966 (73) as 'First Sketch for the Monument of Physics and Mathematics'; Naum Gabo: The Constructive Process, November 1976-January 1977 (16)

This project was never realised on a large scale, but Gabo later made a model 61cm high in 1925, in glass and bronze, which belongs to Mrs Miriam Gabo (repr. Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Gabo: Constructions, Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, Engravings, London 1957, pl.29). It differs from this design in a number of respects. The drawing also has some similarity to his 'Monument for an Observatory' for which a model in plastic, metal and wood 35.5cm high was made in 1922, but which no longer exists (repr. Read and Martin, op. cit., pl.20).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.233-4, reproduced p.233