Naum Gabo

Sketch for ‘Spheric Theme’


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Not on display
Naum Gabo 1890–1977
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 241 x 203 mm
Presented by the artist 1977

Display caption

Both of these drawings relate to Gabo's Spheric Theme sculptures, which were based on the idea of a continuous, curving plane. The blue pencil sketch (1935-7) mounts the spherical form on a canopy structure. The striations in the ink drawing (c1937) help to articulate the surface, showing how Gabo envisaged the plane in three dimensions.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Naum Gabo 1890-1977

T02162 Sketch for 'Spheric Theme' c.1937

Inscribed 'Gabo' b.r.
Iron gall ink and pencil on paper, bottom edge serrated, 9 1/2 x 8 (24 x 20.4)
Presented by the artist 1977
Exh: Naum Gabo, Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, November 1970-January 1971 (32, repr. upside down) as 'Sketch for Spheric Theme' 1935; Sonja Henies og Niels Onstads Stiftelser, Hovikodden, March-April 1971 (no catalogue); Nationalgalerie, Berlin, April-May 1971 (28); Kunstverein, Hanover, June-July 1971 (28, repr. upside down); Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble, September-October 1971 (31); Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, November-December 1971 (31); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Galeria de Exposições Temporárias, Lisbon, January-February 1972 (30); Naum Gabo: The Constructive Process, Tate Gallery, November 1976-January 1977 (49)

This drawing is a study for the model reproduced in Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Gabo: Constructions, Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, Engravings (London 1957), pl.68 as 'Model for Spheric Construction, Fountain' 1937, which was made as a project for a fountain for the New York World's Fair of 1939 but was never carried out.

This drawing is reproduced the other way up in the catalogues of the Humlebaek and Hanover exhibitions of 1970-1, and the photographs apparently show it without the signature. The date 1935 given then was probably too early.

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.246, reproduced p.246

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