Alexander Archipenko - Green Concave (Woman combing her hair)
Green Concave (Woman combing her hair)
Bronze sculpture Height 49 cm. Mounted on black painted wooden base (5.4 x 17.4 x 5.4 cm) Laterally signed and dated 'Archipenko 1913' left and with proof number. Stamped with the Hagen customs stamp under the wooden base. Exemplar 2/6. Lifetime cast. - Very fine green patina. A short inconspicuous superficial scratch in the patina on the left thigh.
Alexander Archipenko moved from Moscow to Paris in 1908; in 1912 he developed the concave as the most important compositional form in his sculptural oeuvre. Those who assume at first glance that he created a Cubist work with his figure “Green Concave” are mistaken. The geometrical conversion of the female body into sharply delineated elementary planes tempts us to draw this conclusion - after all, his French colleagues, particularly Picasso and Braque, proceeded in a similar manner. However, the three-dimensionality that painted, two-dimensional Cubism developed through the decomposition of form in its simultaneous and comprehensive multiperspectivism is raised to another level in Archipenko's “Concave”. In addition to movement, as the fourth dimension, viewers' capacity to make associations is also addressed. Not only is the body of the “concave” reduced to its elementary forms, it is also split open in such a way that the negative form simultaneously contains and provides a substitute for its positive counterpart.
“There ist no concave form without convex […] the reality of the negative is a conceptual imprint of the absent positive. This is a polarity, a sort of equivalence of opposites […].” (Alexander Archipenko, Fifty creative years 1908-1958, New York 1960, p. 53). Thus in “Green Concave” absence, negative form, exists as an empty form that uses contour to delineate the figure's head. Composed in terracotta in 1913, a second green terracotta sculpture was developed in 1954, and this would become the model for the small bronze edition of our “Green Concave”, begun in 1958, during Archipenko's own lifetime.
List of works
Archipenko Foundation online cat. rais. s.13 -02 B, work no. 5224; Barth 51
Acquired from the artist by the previous owner at the Archipenko exhibition Hagen 1960; Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer, Munich, auction 20th century, 1.12.1980, lot 24; Private collection since, North Germany
I.a. Roland Schacht, Alexander Archipenko. Sturm-Bilderbuch II, Berlin 1927, with title colour illus. (Terracotta); Alexander Archipenko, Fifty creative years 1908 - 1958, New York 1960, p. 52 ff, no. 148 (Terracotta); Donald Karshan, Archipenko, The Sculpture and Graphic Art, Tübingen 1974, p. 27 f., with illus.; Donald Karshan, Archipenko. Drawings and Prints 1908-1963, Danville 1985, no. 17, p. 44 6, with full-page colour illus. p. 56 f.("Femme se coiffant")
I.a. Hagen/Münster/Saarbrücken/Düsseldorf 1960 (Karl-Ernst-Osthaus-Museum/Freie Künstlergemeinschaft Schanze/Saarland-Museum/Museum der Stadt Düsseldorf), Alexander Archipenko. 50 Jahre seines Schaffens. Plastiken 1909-1959, cat. no. 8 (this cast); St. Gallen 1962/1963 (Galerie im Erker), Alexander Archipenko, cat. no. 6, with full-page illus. p. 11; Los Angeles 1967 (UCLA Art Museum), Alexander Archipenko: A Memorial Exhibition, cat. no. 17, p. 42 with illus.; Paris 1969 (Musée Rodin), Archipenko, cat. no. 17, p. 61 with illus.; Cambridge MA 1980 (Harvard University Fogg Art Museum), Three American Sculptors and the Female Nude, cat. no. 46, p. 61 with illus.