Catalogue entry

Naum Gabo 1890-1977

T02170 Model for 'Double Relief in a Niche' 1929-30

Inscribed 'N. GABO' b.r.
Plastic, cork and cardboard, 4 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 (11.4 x 22.2 x 5.1); dimensions including wood and plastic surround 11 x 14 1/8 x 2 3/8 (28.2 x 36 x 6)
Presented by the artist 1977
Exh: Naum Gabo: The Constructive Process, Tate Gallery, November 1976-January 1977 (25, repr.) as 'Model for "Double Relief in a Niche" ' c.1929
Repr: Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Gabo: Constructions, Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, Engravings (London 1957), pl.41 as 'Construction in a Niche' 1930

This was made as a project for one of the rooms in the house which the architect Eric Mendelsohn built for himself at Rupenhorn, Berlin, in 1929. The house had a painting by Ozenfant in the hall, a bronze relief by Mataré in the music room, and a painting by Feininger in the dining-room. There is a letter of September 1930 in the Tate Gallery Archive in which Eric Mendelsohn asked Gabo: 'Where are the sketches? I need them urgently, as I must make up my mind'. In the end the commission was abandoned, but Gabo carried out his idea for the left-hand relief independently in the larger 'Construction in a Niche' T02145.

The Tate Archive also owns a rough pencil sketch for the double relief, which is undated, and a larger pencil drawing on squared paper for the left-hand relief, which is signed and dated 1929.

Like the larger constructions T02144 and T02145, this was discovered in a dilapidated state in the loft of Gabo's house in April 1976 and repaired for inclusion in the exhibition at the Tate later the same year.

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, p.241, reproduced p.241