Naum Gabo

Red Cavern


Not on display

Naum Gabo 1890–1977
Plastic, cork, metal and wood
Object: 660 × 514 × 279 mm
Presented by the artist 1977

Display caption

In 1920, Gabo and his brother Antoine Pevsner published the Realistic Manifesto which signaled a move away from representation in favour of a new form of art concerned with space and time. During the 1920s Gabo made a number of small sculptural reliefs, which set curved constructions in shallow boxes and niches. Gabo’s use of hard industrial materials and plastics is balanced here by the construction’s red environment, which infuses it with a warm, sensuous hue.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Naum Gabo 1890-1977

T02144 Red Cavern c.1926

Inscribed 'GABO' on wooden backing
Celluloid, glass, metal and cork set into wooden box, 26 x 20 1/4 x 11 (66 x 51.5 x 28)
Presented by the artist 1977
Exh: Abstract Art: Gabo, Pevsner, Mondrian, Domela, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, October-November 1935 (3) as 'The Red Cavern'; Arts Club of Chicago, January 1936 (3); Cubism and Abstract Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, February-April 1936 (74) as 'The Red Cavern (space construction)'; Gabo-Pevsner, Museum of Modern Art, New York, February-April 1948 (works not numbered) as 'Red Cavern' 1926; Naum Gabo: The Constructive Process, Tate Gallery, November 1976-January 1977 (26) as 'Red Cavern' 1928-9
Repr: Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Gabo: Constructions, Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, Engravings (London 1957), p.40 as 'Construction Encreux' (sic)

Although this relief was exhibited at the Tate in 1976-7 in conjunction with T02145 'Construction in a Niche', it is actually quite different from the right-hand section of the 'Model for "Double Relief in a Niche" ' (T02170) and may have been made independently. The date 1926 given in the catalogue of Gabo's exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1948 suggests that it was made several years earlier, which seems quite possible on style.

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.239, reproduced p.239


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