Rudolf Hoflehner

Figure in Iron


Not on display

Rudolf Hoflehner 1916–1995
Original title
Figur aus Eisen
Object: 2007 × 508 × 749 mm
Purchased 1964

Catalogue entry

Rudolf Hoflehner born 1916

T00679 Figure in Iron 1963

Not inscribed
Iron, 79 1/2 x 20 x 29 1/2 (202 x 50.8 x 75)
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1964
Exh: Painting and Sculpture of a Decade 1954-64, Tate Gallery, April-June 1964 (285, repr.)
Lit: Werner Hofmann, Rudolf Hoflehner (London 1965), pp.xiv-xv, repr. pls.59-60

Hoflehner was awarded a scholarship for foreign travel by UNESCO in 1954 and spent half a year in Greece and the Aegean Islands, during which he made no further sculptures but concentrated on an intensive study of the museums and archaeological sites. Then, on his return to Vienna, he began to work on the theme of the human figure, creating upright standing figures in massive slabs of iron. His subsequent sculptures were numbered from 1 onwards, Figure 1 being a work entitled 'Archaic Figure'.

He added in a letter of 10 April 1965: 'After a three year period of work 1959-62, I had a travelling exhibition through Europe. Following this I entered a completely new phase of work which began with "Figure in Iron" 1963. It is the 74th figure in my records. The sculpture has a strong symbolic meaning for me, and is only to a limited extent, as with any material, dependent on the formal possibilities of the iron. My working title was: "Apollon musagette" [Apollo, chief of the muses]. An upright standing form carries the creative power of the muses onwards. A ball springs up like a bud from the powerful pelvis. The philosophical-literary background is expressed by the title "Figure in Iron", the formal element limited to the essential through reduction and concentration. The figure rests on a cradle. The figure hazards a step. It is a cult nude figure. It is celebrated. ... There are also two other versions almost the same size, somewhat more dynamic, and a small version 50cm high. They are all unique and differ not in idea but formally. A 2.30m high "Venus of Krieau" with double balls originated from the same field of work. Krieau is the name of the district in Vienna where my studio is situated.'

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.364, reproduced p.364

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