Naum Gabo

Sketch for ‘Spiral Theme’

c.1940–1

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 124 x 241 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the artist 1977
Reference
T02159

Display caption

Like many of Gabo's drawings, these sketches relate directly to sculptures. In Sketch for 'Construction Through a Plane' (top), a rhythmic play of circular forms is generated from the central pierced diamond shape (shown hatched-in in pencil). In the finished sculpture these forms were made from loops of transparent plastic. Sketch for 'Spiral Theme' (bottom) establishes the boat-like form of the sculpture and the way it encloses space. These ideas were then developed in three dimensions in a model, shown in the vitrine, before being translated into the larger sculpture, also on display here.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Naum Gabo 1890-1977

T02159 Sketch for 'Spiral Theme' c.1940-1

Inscribed 'G'. b.r.
Pencil on graph paper, 4 7/8 x 9 1/2 (12.5 x 24.1)
Presented by the artist 1977
Exh: Naum Gabo: The Constructive Process, Tate Gallery, November 1976-January 1977 (41) as 'Sketch' c.1933

Though exhibited at the Tate in 1976-7 as 'Sketch' c.1933, Gabo subsequently confirmed that this was a first sketch for 'Spiral Theme' (see T02181 and T00190). Asked whether it should therefore be dated c.1940-1, he commented 'Maybe' (information from Mrs Gabo, 27 July 1977).

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.250, reproduced p.250