Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (British, 1924-2005) Master of the Universe 32.3 cm. (12 3/4 in.) including base (3.1 cm base)
Lot 109AR
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (British, 1924-2005) Master of the Universe 40.5 cm. (16 in.) long (including base)
£40,000 - 60,000
US$ 68,000 - 100,000
Lot Details
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (British, 1924-2005)
Master of the Universe
signed, inscribed and dated 'E PAOLOZZI A/C 1999' (on the base)
bronze with a brown patina
40.5 cm. (16 in.) long (including base)

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2000

    In 1987 Paolozzi began work on what would become a series of three compositions based closely on the 1795 print with watercolour Newton by William Blake (Tate Gallery, London). The first of these was a small study of Newton, which only ever reached fruition as a plaster version, the second entitled Newton Figure (Tate Gallery, London), has Newton seated modeled in a neoclassical style. The third version, of which the present lot is an example, entitled Master of the Universe, has Newton composed in Paolozzi's signature mechanistic, cubist style. The artist expands on his dialogue with Blake's work and his motivation for reinterpreting it:

    'The 1795 image of Sir Isaac Newton by William Blake in the Tate Gallery has fascinated me for many years. Blake shows Newton surrounded by the glories of nature but, oblivious to the beauty, concentrates on reducing the universe to mathematical dimensions. Blake was no admirer of Newton and meant this work to be a critical assessment of the scientist's preoccupations. The work says different things to me. Here we have the work of two British geniuses presenting to us simultaneously nature and science - welded, interconnecting, interdependent. The link is the classically beautiful body of Newton crouched in a position reminiscent of Rodin's Thinker. Newton sits on nature, using it as a base for his work. His back is bent in work, not submission, and his figure echoes the shape of rock and coral. He is part of nature' (Robin Spencer (ed.), Eduardo Paolozzi Writings and Interviews, Oxford, 2000, p.322).

    One of Paolozzi's most iconic motifs, Master of the Universe, exists in a number of variants. Most notable are the monumental variations, one of which sit in the forecourt of the British Library London (as Newton), in the grounds of the Dean Gallery Edinburgh (as Master of the Universe), and within the Kowloon Park, Hong Kong (as The Concept of Newton).
Activities
Auction information

Bonhams' November sale achieved a number of high profile records, including the highest price in London that week within a sale of Modern British Art - Allies by Lawrence Holofcener fetched an impressive £409,250. The department are especially proud to have secured a new world auction record for Walter Richard Sickert. Painted circa 1904, Woman in Profile with Downcast Eyes was discovered in Australia and following intense bidding realized £229,250. Irish Art fared well too, with Paul Henry's charming Old-Age Pensioners going for £109,250 while Colin finding Irish buyers.

The next auction will take place on 29 May and closes for entry in April. Already consigned are museum quality works that are fresh to market by LS Lowry, FE McWilliam and Edward Seago, among others.

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