Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (British, 1924-2005) Master of the Universe 32.3 cm. (12 3/4 in.) including base (3.1 cm base)
Lot 92AR
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (British, 1924-2005) Master of the Universe 40.5 cm. (16 in.) long (including base)
Sold for £46,850 (US$ 73,471) inc. premium

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). 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), has Newton seated modeled in a neoclassical style. The third version, of which the present lot is an example; Master of the Universe has Newton composed in Paolozzi's signature mechanistic, cubist modelling. 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 University Press, 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).
Auction information

The 29 May sale was the departments most successful auction to date making almost £5m.

Furthermore, it was 90% sold by value with some staggering results achieved for fresh, competitively priced material sourced from private collections. Over half of sold lots soared above their high estimates, indicating that Bonhams is best positioned to secure the best price for your Modern British & Irish Art.

The variety on offer within this genre continues to delight buyers, proven by exceptional results for post-war masters such as Auerbach, Scully, Hockney and Freud whilst the early-mid century examples by Spencer, Lavery, Burra and Moore also exceeded expectation. We were proud to break our own world auction record twice over in the same sale for a pencil drawing by L.S. Lowry. Agecroft Regatta sold for £211,250, pipping The Organ Grinder (£151,250) to the title. The sculpture and Irish content were similarly contended for by the packed saleroom and busy telephones.

The cover lot Garden Path, Cookham Rise by Sir Stanley Spencer fetched an impressive £769,250 while the much admired Oil-bound Puffin by Lucian Freud commanded £385,250 on the day, with both returning to private collections.

We are delighted to now invite consignments for the forthcoming auction on 20 November 2013.

Please contact a member of the department or visit the sale webpage for further information.

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Contacts
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