1933 - 2014
bronze sculpture, 1960 - 1962
signed and editioned 5/7
25 1/2 x 5 x 5 in, 64.8 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm
Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Sold for: $22,500
Private Collection, Texas
By descent to the present Private Collection, Washington
Pierre Restany, Sorel Etrog, 2001, page 61
Romanian born, Israeli-Canadian Sorel Etrog was an artist, writer and philosopher, who has received international acclaim for his modern and post-modern sculpture. Exploring essential aspects of the human condition, Etrog’s work is often informed by his youth during wartime and Soviet invasion of Romania. In 1959, Etrog was a struggling student in New York, when Jewish-Canadian businessman Sam Zacks provided a massive break for the young artist. Zacks was among Canada’s leading art collectors, and was impressed by Etrog’s painted wood constructions. He invited Etrog to visit Toronto, and use his plywood factory south of the city as a studio. During this trip, Etrog was tremendously productive, and capitalized on the opportunity to experiment with new media. Etrog was granted his first show at Toronto’s Gallery Moos in October 1959, and a second in 1961. He immigrated to Canada in 1963.
Wingless Angel is a sophisticated and elegant work from this crucial period early in Etrog’s career. A narrow stem composes the bottom two-thirds of the sculpture, cumulating in an curvaceous woven mass. In contrast with Etrog’s earlier works, Wingless Angel’s simplified columnar form is a clear reference to the human figure. Drawing inspiration from the elongated shape of Oceanic artifacts at the Brooklyn Museum, specifically thin-handled spatulas from Papua New Guinea known as kena, Etrog described his desire “to be free to use large masses or weight without them sinking into or flattening on to the base…I wanted the figure to soar from the base like the trunk of the tree with nothing happening until a short stop at the hips, leaving the drama for the top.” Constantin Brâncusi’s biomorphic forms are another source of influence for this elegant, elongated format.
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