François Stahly born 1911
Inscribed 'ST' in monogram on upper surface of base
Bronze, 46 5/8 x 17 3/8 x 13 3/4 (118.5 x 44 x 35) on marble base; height including base 48 5/8 (123.5)
Presented anonymously 1967
Prov: Purchased by the donor from the artist for presentation
Repr: exh. catalogue François Stahly, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, October-December 1966, n.p. (as the wood carving); Pierre Descargues and François Stahly, François Stahly (Brussels 1975), pl.22a (another cast, with a different base)
This work was based on a wood sculpture of the same title carved from the trunk of a poplar, which the artist began in 1953 and subsequently reworked several times. (It was dated 1953-7 in Carola Giedion-Welcker and Walter Herdeg, François Stahly, Zurich c.1965, p.48 and, presumably after further reworking, 1953-66 in the catalogue of his retrospective exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 1966). However he reworked the plaster which served for the bronze and the modelling is very different, although the overall silhouette remains similar. The bronze dates from 1963 and is the first cast of an edition of three, plus one artist's copy. In 1968 the second cast was in Spain and the artist's copy in New York; the third cast of the edition had not yet been made.
The Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris owns a further variant in white Carrara marble which was made over the period 1963-6. It is very different from the wood and the bronze in its details and even in certain silhouettes, and is also larger.
(This note is based on letters from the artist of 20 June 1968 and 5 August 1976).
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.704, reproduced p.704