Barry Flanagan (British, 1941-2009) Large Boxing Hare on Anvil 1984

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Lot 32W
Barry Flanagan
(British, 1941-2009)
Large Boxing Hare on Anvil
1984

Sold for US$ 500,312 inc. premium
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF GERARD L. CAFESJIAN
Barry Flanagan (British, 1941-2009)
Large Boxing Hare on Anvil
1984

incised with the artist's initial and numbered 6/7
bronze

86 1/4 by 48 1/2 by 18 1/2 in.
219.1 by 123.2 by 47 cm.

This work was executed in 1984, and is number 6 from an edition of 7.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Waddington Galleries, London
    Private Collection, London
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner circa 2006

    Exhibited
    Tokyo, Fuji Television Gallery, Barry Flanagan, 1985, p. 5, p. 10, p. 13, another example illustrated
    London, Waddington Galleries, Groups VIII, 1985, no. 20, another example illustrated
    London, Waddington Galleries, Barry Flanagan, 1985, p. 21, another example illustrated
    Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art Sculpture Garden, another example
    Ljubljana, Museum of Modern Art Slovenia, Barry Flanagan - A Visual Invitation: Sculpture 1967-1987, 1988, another example
    Tokyo, Fuji Television Gallery, Barry Flanagan, 1991, p. 30, another example illustrated in color
    Paris, Galerie Durand-Dessert, Barry Flanagan, 1992, another example
    Stockholm, Wetterling Gallery, Barry Flanagan, 2007, another example
    Winterslow, UK, New Arts Centre, Roche Court Sculpture Garden, Barry Flanagan: Hare Coursed, 2009, another example
    London, Waddington Galleries, Barry Flanagan: Works 1966-2008, 2010, another example
    New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Barry Flanagan The Hare is Metaphor, 2018, another example
    Milwaukee, Sculpture Milwaukee, 2019, another example
    Yerevan, Armenia, Cafesjian Center for the Arts


    Depicting two of the artist's best-known motifs, an athletic hare and a weighty anvil, Barry Flanagan's sculpture Large Boxing Hare on Anvil (1984) is a superlative example of the artist's work. Born in Wales and educated at Saint Martin's School of Art, Flanagan began to depict hares in the late 1970s. Thought to seek inspiration from George Ewart Evans' book The Leaping Hare, as well as the memory of a hare bounding through the British countryside, the animal quickly became the defining feature of his oeuvre.

    Though whimsical, the work is laden with meaning. Choosing the hare for its fleet footedness, Flanagan then depicts it engaging in distinctly virtuosic human activities: often ballet, or in this case, boxing. The hare's positioning, in an almost two-dimensional profile, is also reminiscent of Egyptian imagery. This is underscored by the Egyptian's practice of worshipping hares for their distinct swiftness and energy – just like that of a boxer. There is a keen juxtaposition however: this pouncing hare is atop an anvil, an object almost defined by its heft. It instills the work with irony, drawing attention to the weightiness of its media against the featherweight hare.

    The present work is one of the earliest examples of an anvil in the artist's practice, an image that would continue to appear until his death in 2009. It also stems from the period when Flanagan's work was just beginning its rise into the public consciousness. The sculptor represented the UK at the 1982 Venice Biennale, and it was in that year that his works began to rapidly join public collections globally. You can now find his works in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and the Tate, London. Another work from this edition is in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

    The present work was acquired over 25 years ago by prominent American collector and philanthropist Gerard L. Cafesjian, and remained in his Estate's collection until now. Born in 1925 in Brooklyn to Armenian immigrant parents, Mr. Cafesjian became a highly successful editor at West Publishing - a firm specialising in legal materials - and spearheaded the launch of the annual Art and the Law exhibition, for which he received the prestigious Business in the Arts Award. Mr. Cafesjian's passion for collecting began with a childhood fascination with geology and gemstones, which later branched into fine art. Over the years, he patroned and developed personal relationships with world-renowned sculptors and ultimately assembled an impressive collection of both lapidary and fine works of art.

    Upon his retirement, Mr. Cafesjian committed his time to art and charity, as he founded the Cafesijan Family Foundation to support mostly Armenian causes. He founded the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona in 1999, and, in the early 2000s, he set his sights on an enormous, unfinished and crumbling Soviet structure in Armenia's capital city as the site for a private museum. The building's ambitious renovation and expansion resulted in the creation of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, which, upon its inauguration in 2009, was touted by the New York Times as being a modern-day 'Hanging Gardens of Armenia' and is best known for its world-class sculpture garden.
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Barry Flanagan (British, 1941-2009) Large Boxing Hare on Anvil 1984
Barry Flanagan (British, 1941-2009) Large Boxing Hare on Anvil 1984
Barry Flanagan (British, 1941-2009) Large Boxing Hare on Anvil 1984
Barry Flanagan (British, 1941-2009) Large Boxing Hare on Anvil 1984
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