31 May 2012

whodunit? (sculpture identification help)

the junque whisperer™ called out to me yesterday, and told me based on a tiny grainy picture to immediately go buy this sculpture- no questions asked.  so on a dark, deserted street late last night,  i forked over some cash and bought the above without really even looking at it and just had the seller load it into the m21 mobile- aka, granny clampett, the furniture hauling pick-up truck. (yes, the junque whisperer™moves in mysterious ways, sometimes making buying pretty things more like a drug deal than a luxury experience, but that's ok, i know the junque whisperer™ is just a monkey on my back and in many ways, i am just an addict looking for my next score ;-)
i thought it would be a little table top sculpture, but it's a big ol' ginormously heavy hunk of polished bronze on a black stone base. check out it's size next to a bottle of veuve clicquot my friend diane gave me for my recent birthday (i've got nice friends, right? ;-)  it has some minor finish issues (the original lacquer coating is flaking off), and one corner of the base is chipped, but otherwise, it's just bee-you-ti-ful.

thing is dude bought it from didn't know anything about it, as he inherited with his apartment (past owners probably left it rather than move it. did i mention the thing is freakin' heavy?).
he said he was told it was originally very expensive, but that's all he knew.  just by size, weight and quality i could tell he was right, but question is, was it expensive from the kind of retail/gallery store on rodeo dr. that sold nagels in the 80's? or it is expensive as in it came from a reputable gallery or auction house and is by a known artist? of course, there ain't a marking anywhere on the damn thing, so i just dunno.
detail showing the hollow matte inner surface, exposed at the bottom`of the piece.

what i do know is that it certainly reminds me of a barbara hepworth with it's pierced hole and ovoid shape, but that fin-like extension on the left side sorta throws my bh theory off; plus i really doubt there are too many barbara hepworths out there getting inherited with apartments and sold to decorators in the middle of the night on a street corner (still there is the story of the dude who bought that original warhol at a yard sale in vegas, so one always has hope).
barabra hepworth
barbara hepworth
barbara hepworth
if this was a piece of furniture, i'd probably have a pretty good idea of who made it, or at least know who to contact to find out for sure (talkin' 'bout you, lewis trimble!), but i don't know any art experts, and frankly, i'm loathe to haul this weighty thing over to sotheby's or christie's, only to find out it's from the franklin mint. quelle horruer!
the junque whisperer™mystery...

so naturally, i thought of you, my readers, and how since you are some of the smartest, best connected peeps around, that maybe y'all can help me identify my new pretty. sooooo- any guesses?


mary said...

Hi Christian, Here is my two cents worth. I think you definitely need to have the sculpture looked at by a 20th c. specialist. The quality, form, balance, energy is pretty fantastic. Good luck--check out Bonhams on Sunset. Mary

Raina Cox said...

"was it expensive from the kind of retail/gallery store on rodeo dr. that sold nagels in the 80's?"

That made me laugh out loud.

Oh, and I'm betting you totally have a Barbara Hepworth.

maison21 said...

mary, i'm totally gettng it checked out. i'm sending out emails as we speak! and bonhams is a great suggestion- i know they have appraisal days so i can strap this puppy to a wheelie cart and take it in!

thanks raina! from your lips to you know who's ears on the hepworth thing- i could use a break!

mikky said...

So intriguing. You should send out an email to Moma and tweet it out too. That would be fantastic if you end up living on a yaught in Monte Carlo because of this statue. btw what is junque whisperer™? I've never heard of that, sounds like fun meeting in alleyways.
Please keep us posted. The part about the franklin mint was funny.

Jordana @ White Cabana said...

It looks like you've got a pretty great gem in your hands Christian. Do let the rest of us know what you learn about it! I love a good treasure story...