So What’s The Most Expensive Sculpture Ever Sold at Auction?

We’ve seen those world-class auctions held on tv. Sotheby’s and Christie’s among other big names are some of the institutions pioneering a love for art as valuable pieces of luxury collections. Today let’s look at sculpture as one of the media next in line for the throne of art luxury.

Giacometti sculpture

“L’Homme qui marche I” or “The Walking Man” by Alberto Giacometti fetched an entire sum of US$103.7 million at London’s Sotheby’s auction. The piece, a distinctive image of a stylized walking man was one out of a series of sculptures in similar form and art by Giacometti. Sometimes we in the artworld marvel at the deepest colors and the most innovative media, and yet I believe pieces like this emphasize an important intrinsic value that is often overlooked in art. The most prominently valuable characteristic that an artwork holds is its history. Giacometti was a brilliant scuptor and a timeless artisan. His works command prices higher than most of us can every dream of having, yet these seemingly simplistic designs of art may not always look like the most valuable things in the world. Historical significance of a piece to both the artist and his audience… -that is the value factor we have to look for when investing in artworks. Lily Safra, the buyer of the recently auctioned piece must have seen this quality in the work. Her record breaking piece is now an emblem of the personal and monetary value achievable by the medium of sculpture.

Would you guys like to know about the most expensive painting ever sold at auction? It’s Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr. Gachett” that was purchased in 1990. Today the equivalent of the price paid for that work would be approximately just over 138 million US dollars. Despite this high number, it is not the most expensive painting in the world when judged purely by monetary data. A painting entitled No. 5 by the famed abstractionist Jackson Pollock in 1948 sold for about 150 million dollars (present-day equivalent). This transaction was private though, not at an auction.

Kyveli Makri’s Ceramic Minimalism

Greece has always been a famous hotspot for historical sculpture. Mainly dominated by classical realists in the early days of its aesthetic history, Greece now houses a large number of modern and contemporary sculptors as well. Among these artists, Kyveli Makri aspires to become a top in her field of ceramics and mixed media. Born in Athens, Makri creates hand-built hybrid creations by making use of wood, plexiglass, recycled substances and ceramic materials. Her concepts are characterized by her minimalist usage of design elements, such as simplistic lines and subtle subject contours.

 

Ceramic Sculpture

Her early works can be observed as art that focuses on the conceptual representation of abstract subjects in ceramic media. Preferring block-like subjects such as ocean liners, townscapes and everyday utilities, her minimalistic style of abstract art slowly grew into a wide-eyed understanding of contemporary hybridity. Today, Makri’s works can be found at the Museum of Greek Folk Art and the Interni Interiors Building. They are also sold at the Benaki Museum. Her very latest work can be found at the Acropolis Museum.

Photography by Vassilis Vrettos – Sculpture by Kyveli Makri

The Metal Sculptures of Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson sculpted giants. His passion for huge sculptures made of metal brought his artistic career to great heights. If you’ve been to the Ironworld Discovery Center near Chisholm, Minnesota, you may come across the Ironman statue that stands 11 meters tall as a figure alone. The entire work is 25 meters into the sky (This is not the Ironman from Marvel Comics mind you, he’s a lot smaller.)

 

Ironman Sculpture

Many of Anderson’s sculptures  reflected on a type of realism that was  fairly popular for creating commissioned works of famous personalities. They did have a sort of mannerist style to them in the sense of facial structure and anatomical perspective. One of his famous clients was the well known Bishop Frederic Baraga, whom Anderson sculpted a shrine for. Entitled the “Snowshow Priest” in the late 1960’s as a religious monument. The statue eventually stood over ten meters tall and was made out of brass. Baraga was depicted holding a seven-foot cross in his right hand and an 8 meter long pair of snowshoes in his left hand.

Anderson’s many sculptural masterpieces still exist on display today as monuments to remember the lives and influences of his patrons. because of the high durability and lasting strength of his materials, aging did not destroy much of his hard effort. He died on December 5th 1993 in Chassel Michigan, however his legacy stands tall on the shoulders of his metal giants and the memory of his artistic talents.

 

William Pye’s Charybdis Sculpture : A Contained Natural Phenomena

We all know William Pye to be one of the innovative minds behind several out-of-the-box designs like the Antony Cone water sculpture at the Antony House in Cornwall, but this is something even more depth defying than many of his other creations.

Behold Charybdis, a whirlpool vortex contained within an acrylic polymer composition that matches curiosity for awe. Located in Seaham Hall, Sunderland, this magnificent artwork was inspired by Homer’s tales of Scylla and Charybdis, the two sirens whom Zeus had struck to become inhuman entities. Charybdis became a massive vortex that swallowed up ships that strayed too close to her gaping mouth.

Charybdis Sculpture

You can find his website will all his amazing water sculptures right here.

The Beauty of Sound Sculpture

Burnley Panopticon, the Singing Ringing Tree
Photograph by Daniel Childs

Who says that sculpture is purely a visual art? We believe that it is in fact a medium that can encompass all the senses (even at the same time.) Today let’s take a look at “sound sculpture”. These are artworks made to create a sound effect via their own composition. Artists often use the different properties of materials to create an echo or touch-sound based on human or environmental  interaction. Chimes are a good example of a kinetic sculpture that involves itself with the production of sound art. It uses the wind energy and creates pitch tones by moving into contact with its own metal elements.

Sound sculpture was influenced by kinetic sculpture and art cymatics, and exists as an intermedia in the world of art. Some famous artists that practice the art of sound sculpture are Maryanne Amacher, the Baschet Brothers, Hugh Davies and Henry Dagg.

Sound can be created in a number of ways. From touch, air, heat, electricity and the other types of energy. What sculptors of this genre seek to learn is the creativity that is fostered when combing the physics of sound with the curiosity of art. In our own contemporary world, Sound sculpture makes up a small portion of the evolving artforms that are slowly making their way into national museums and private galleries across the world.

Being inspired by kinetic sculpture means that sound sculptures are largely done using some form of energy. When exploring this type of sculpture, whether for a collection or a hobby, one must always critique the use of energy involved. The rate and type of transfers, the science behind the art, and the ingenuity of the composition. It takes a lot to meld science and art into a hybrid medley of beauty, however if done correctly, it can create a spark for creative innovation in the community.

Acrylic as a Sculpture Media

Acrylic is an industrial material that has several visual properties. Its good durability, coupled with its clear and transparent orientation makes it a good candidate for artistic endeavors. Through the years, people have been upgrading technology to make the usage of acrylics suitable to every household artist. Because of the toxicity in its casting process, it wasn’t widely adapted as a media until now. Acrylic was an intriguing material explored by the great Alexander Calder (inventor of the mobiles). Frederick Hart attempted to first cast it in the 1970’s. He joined with Robert Chase, Sr. and formed a company known as Chesley LLC, which was meant to create acrylic sculptures. Hart finally succeeded in 1982 with his piece “Gerontion.” This brought good news to the art community.

Clear acrylic sculptures are often coveted for their ability to shape light beams. Similar to the properties of glass, acrylic’s physical properties allow a playful distortion of light to shine through it clear interiors. Many acrylic sculptures have trained for more than several years practicing and mastering these unique traits of the medium. Such artists include Vasa Mihich of Vasa Studios, Paul Sable and Melanie Hope.

Colored acrylic sculptures are also a big hit at some places. Shlomi Haziza produces vivid creation of colored acrylic and her works are prized by dozens of patrons coveting her designs. Another artist, Shahrooz Nia has developed a technique for hand-painting acrylic sculptures and giving them the feel of a traditional artwork. Acrylic artists, though in tune with mastery of the media, often report of the difficulty involved with using it. Many galleries that sell pieces made from acrylics offer them at a high price, usually over 2000 US dollars for a standard sized piece.

With technological advancements fast approaching, one may wonder if in the future, more and more innovative artworks will be seen in this ever-curious novelty medium.