Naum Gabo

Urn, Sketch for an Imaginary Construction (Logan Rock)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Naum Gabo 1890–1977
Graphite on paper
Support: 279 × 219 mm
Presented by the artist 1977

Display caption

Urn, Sketch for an Imaginary Construction (Logan Rock) (left) was made in preparation for one of Gabo''s rare paintings of the 1930s. The delicately enclosing curves form a vessel. The term 'logan rock' is a Cornish name for a boulder whose base has eroded, allowing it to be rocked back and forth. The later Sketch for Kinetic Construction (right) shows Gabo further exploring the use of enclosing lines and balance.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Naum Gabo 1890-1977

T02160 Urn. Sketch for an Imaginary Construction (Logan Rock) c.1933

Not inscribed
Pencil on paper, 11 x 8 5/8 (27.9 x 22)
Presented by the artist 1977
Exh: Naum Gabo, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, April-June 1965 (t19) as 'Urn. Schets voor een imaginaire constructie (Logan Rock)' c.1933; Kunsthalle, Mannheim, June-August 1965 (66) as 'Urne (Skizze)'; Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg, August-October 1965 (66); Kunsthaus, Zurich, October-December 1965 (66); Den inre och den yttre Rymden, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, January-February 1966 (126); Naum Gabo, Tate Gallery, March-April 1966 (85); Naum Gabo, Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, November 1970-January 1971 (31) as 'Sketch for "The Urn" ' c.1933; Sonja Henies og Niels Onstads Stiftelser, Hovikodden, March-April 1971 (no catalogue); Nationalgalerie, Berlin, April-May 1971 (27); Kunstverein, Hanover, June-July 1971 (27); Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble, September-October 1971 (30); Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, November-December 1971 (30); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Galerie de Exposições Temporárias, Lisbon, January-February 1972 (29); Naum Gabo: The Constructive Process, Tate Gallery, November 1976-January 1977 (42) as 'Sketch for "The Urn" ' c.1933

This is one of several studies for a small oil painting which is reproduced in Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Gabo: Constructions, Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, Engravings (London 1957), pl.112 as 'Imaginary Construction' and in colour in Naum Gabo, Of Divers Arts (New York 1962), pl.38 as ' "Logan Rock", Study for a Sculpture'. The painting, which measures 27 x 21.6cm, more or less the same size, is signed and dated 1933. It lacks the ball and ring-like elements which appear in the lower part of the drawing, but is otherwise very similar.

In the catalogue of the exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 1965 the painting appears as 'Imaginary Construction (Logan Rock)', and three pencil studies for it (including this work) are listed as 'Urn. Sketch for an Imaginary Construction (Logan Rock)'. In the subsequent showings of the same exhibition, the titles of the drawings were abbreviated to 'Urn (Sketch)', 'The Urn' or 'Sketch for "The Urn" ', but the original, more explicit title seems preferable.

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.244, reproduced p.244


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