Arnold Auerbach

Mechanised Head


Not on display

Arnold Auerbach 1898–1978
Object: 420 × 181 × 230 mm
Presented by Galerie Huber und Reichard and Mrs Jean M. Auerbach, the artist's widow 1985

Catalogue entry

Arnold Auerbach 1898-1978

T04111 Mechanised Head 1928

Bronze 420 x 181 x 230 (16 1/2 x 7 1/8 x 9 1/16) Cast inscription ‘Auerbach E.A.I.' on neck and cast foundry mark ‘VENTURI ARTE'
Presented by Galerie Huber und Reichard and Mrs Jean M. Auerbach, the artist's widow 1985
Lit: Arnold Auerbach, exh. cat., Galerie Huber und Reichard, Offenbach am Main, 1984, pp.16-17, repr.p.19.

‘Mechanised Head' was executed in 1928, the year in which ‘Torso Form' (see T04112) was also completed. Both works were made originally in plaster, in the artist's studio in Hampstead. Although not cast during the artist's lifetime, both were cast posthumously in bronze by the Venturi Arte foundry in Bologna in an edition of eight. A further, unauthorised, edition of three bronzes of ‘Mechanised Head' was produced by the St. Maur foundry, Paris in 1978-9 and one of these was shown in Sculpture in Britain Between the Wars at the Fine Art Society (June-Aug. 1986, no.4) with the title ‘Vorticist Head'. The artist's widow has confirmed that the correct title should have been ‘Mechanised Head'. The plaster of ‘Mechanised Head' was lent to the exhibition British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Sept. 1981-Jan. 1982 (69) and is now in a private collection in West Germany.

‘Mechanised Head' is unusual in Auerbach's sculptural oeuvre which, generally speaking, is characterised by a more naturalistic - though sometimes stylised - treatment of form and, particularly in those works dealing with the female figure, a tendency towards flowing contours. In contrast, ‘Mechanical Head' uses geometric forms and flattened surfaces deployed in an angular way. Although untypical of Auerbach's work, ‘Mechanical Head' may nevertheless be seen as manifesting those convictions which the artist has expressed in the following way:

Sculptors apply their appreciation of the modern technical spirit of machine forms to the suggestion of shape given by living forms and producing a false mechanisation of living beings possible in no previous age (A. Auerbach, Sculpture, 1952).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.89-90

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