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.


Robert DuGrenier’s Glass Inhabitants

Roberd DuGrenier’s glass artworks are a hybridity of living art. We’ve never seen sculpture used in the curious manner that he creates. His many sculptural forms act as living cells or units by which other organisms can make use of artificially. They are very beautiful for the fact that his glass medium enables onlookers to see what normal people could never see; the hidden process of life in the world.

His hermit crab sculptures are comprised of glass shells that actual live crabs move into. These allow people to see the inner sanctum of the hermit crab’s anatomical body at work within the shell. DuGrenier’s sculptures are a magnificent and interesting way to teach children the basics of biology using these non-harmful curiosities to instruct lesson plans. Another one of his sculptures makes use of an invisible beehive. Sculpted in the natural form and contour of a hive, the artwork interacts with both the bees and people in giving the first a home and the latter a look into nature’s own honey factory. DuGrenier also sculpted a glass element that he integrated with the natural growth of a branching tree, In the globular glass object, people were able to see the movements of the tree’s branch growth day by day. These works of art provide a window into the unreachable sights that human beings often just wonder about.

Sculptures by Robert DuGrenier and Photography by Fvlcrvm

The Walk of Ideas Sculpture in Berlin

Six sculptures were designed by Scholz & Friends for the 2006 football world cup (FIFA). These six sculptures were set in Berlin and made a part of Germany’s Idea campaign; “Deutschland – Land der Ideen”, and were named “The Walk of Ideas”. They were put up for a certain period of time, but made a big impact on tourists who visited the nation for the big event. Among the sculptures, there were many that conveyed thought, idea and innovation throughout the country’s history. These sculptures cost about 300,000 euros each from start to finish, and were made with a new kind of material called Neopor. The sculptures consisted of these designed subjects: A series of books with names of German poets and writers, a giant tablet signifying the milestone of medicine, a few huge musical notes to symbolize bach, beethoven and the rest of their musical prodigies, a silver car signifying contributions in the automobile discovery, A modernized foot ball boot, and Einstein’s equation: E=mc squared. The feedback from the worldwide community was simply astonishing. The British Times, CNN and many other coverage media companies broadcasted positive clamour for the overall success of the campaign.

They also said that Germany was turning away from pessimism and starting to convey the fact that it was lead by people with vision and a sense of national innovation.The only downside to this series of sculptures was the fact that some people complained that their artistic value was compromised by the “platitudinous advertising”. Examples of these complaints were the fact that the football shoes had stripes that pertained to the Adidas brand and the silver car looked almost exactly like the new Audi model of the time. Some people thought that corporations were behind these seemingly innocent discoveries within the artworks. Despite this, the event was a good thing to have for Germany, and the world appreciated this well-prepared acceptance of the 2006 football world cup. For a land with its history, Germany has really grown into an excellence of creative minds and great thinkers. (Picture Accreditation: Walk of Ideas (Berlin) + Photography by Lienhard Schulz)

Handmade Art V.S. Technical Production

We all know that factories and machinery have the capacity to produce perfect grade objects with flawless surfaces, spotless coats and pinpoint proportion. We are also aware that human beings are not robots, nor are they precise, routinized assembly lines. What happens then when we pit man against machine in the world of art?

Sculpture in Versailles Area

When you buy an artwork, do you look for every blemish, every tiny irregularity that somehow looks as if it shouldn’t be there? If so, then maybe you’re looking in the wrong direction. Fine decor fits the description on the flawless collection piece, but art for many people is able to transcend this scrutiny of physical quality. Art is humanistic in nature, and is on a caliber of thought and emotion unknown to mass produced works. It really all boils down to what you’re looking for; beautiful objects or beautiful stories. Every work of art is exactly a personal story; a piece of a person’s life and time. Art survives and thrives even through the industrial and digital ages because of its organic and narrative nature. It does not need to be a porcelain doll every single time, because it ought to reflect on the presence of humanity in the world. Art creates a perfect story within every imperfect shape it possesses.

The State Art and Sculpture Museum in Ankara

Ankara’s Resim ve Heykel Müzesi (The State Art and Sculpture Museum) was a brainchild of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the country. Its semi-regal architecture came from the design of Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu in 1927. The building originally exhibited a lot of 19th century art from the country’s artist community. The modern museum now restored and declared re-open to the public is a heritage center that creates a doorway into Turkey’s past and present artistic personalities. Along with an extended library dedicated to the plastic arts, the museum also features spaces where guest exhibitions can be held as well.

The State Art and Sculpture Museum

The restoration of the building gave it prime conditions to create a sound environment for the preservation of every artwork. The architecture and settings prevent problems due to temperature, humidity and the like. Aging damage can also be repaired within the museum grounds at a special restoration area specifically tasked for this purpose. The entire complex is laden with controlling systems that also signal for fires. Workshops that the museum currently offers are vast in number and are mainly about sculpture, painting, traditional printing, ceramics and the ornamental arts. The level of workshops may also vary, as people have demanded to create two levels of professional and beginner.

The Turkish museum holds many multi-cultural and multi-platform exhibitions in cooperation with foreign countries. Three of its galleries are reserved for periodical exhibits to showcase he work of foreign artists, and permanent pieces from the Turkish corner will be traveling to be displayed in other countries as well.

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.

Kinetic Sculpture : The Art of Movement

newton's cradleKinetic refers to something in motion, so this form of sculpture can be defined by its unique aspect of integrating motion into its beauty and function. In some societies, both sound sculpture and light sculpture are also considered as kinetic art, but traditionalists refer to the term only when they pertain to concrete masses in motion.

Two popularized examples of kinetic sculpture are the mobile and the fountain.

First off, the mobile is a type of kinetic sculpture that makes use of the properties of equal balance. Weight and density are taken into detailed consideration when creating works in this field. Most mobile sculptures have separate elements hanging or balancing by some point of reference. This set of elements are set in motion by a slight force of wind or air current. Alexander Calder is one of the most famous and acclaimed mobile artists of the 19th century and was best known for many of his playful depictions created by crafting metals into mobile sculptures. The mobile is also a very popular teaching exercise used to instruct art students on the aspects of balance and composition.

The fountain is a type of kinetic sculpture that associates itself with a flow of liquid. Most common fountains today are used in a grand scale as center pieces in many hotels and resorts, but there are several artists who still practice the creation of solo or small fountains, such as the japanese bonsai-garden sculptors that make use of controlled water flow in their living artworks.

The motion-creator for any kinetic sculpture can stem from many different sources of energy, such as wind and water power, electrical power, steam power, mechanical (or human) power, or even using clock work. Historians argue that the very first kinetic sculpture was made by Marcel Duchamp. A piece entitles Bicycle Wheel in the early 19th century. At around the same time (but a bit later), Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner created their Realist Manifesto in Moscow. Kinetic art was finally  included as a novelty in the compilation.

If you would like to find Kinetic Art sculptors you could contact the Kinetic Art Organization or KAO, which is the largest international art organization of its kind.