Claes OLDENBURG (Stockholm 1929 - )

Giant Balloon in the Shape of a Screw: Sketch for a Poster for an Exhibition in Japan

Watercolour, pencil and charcoal on paper.
Signed, signed again with initials, inscribed and dated Oldenburg JAPAN CO. ‘73 in pencil at the bottom and lower right.
736 x 584 mm. (29 x 23 in.)
 

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As one scholar has noted, ‘Oldenburg’s drawings from around 1970 are full of…flights of sculptural fantasy, less actual proposals for public monuments than private ruminations on the potentially comical aspects of monumentality. At this mid-stage in his career, and even more so during the 1960s when no one would dream of fronting the sums necessary to realize such works, the artist could daydream freely without care or consequence…On paper, anything is possible.’

Drawn in 1973, this large sheet may have been an unused design for a poster for Claes Oldenburg’s one-man exhibition at the Minami Gallery in Tokyo in June-July 1973. As the artist has written, ‘During the fourteen years since my first use of the screw in 1968 as a kinetic object, it underwent numerous transformations in material, shape, situation, and size before achieving its final form in 1983 as an arch in the garden of the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.’

A related drawing of a Giant Balloon in the Shape of a Screw, Aloft, dated 1972, was exhibited in Paris in 1977, while a related lithograph of a Soft Screw as a Balloon, Ascending was published by Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles in 1976.

‘When I start a drawing I don’t know exactly what is going to happen. I know when it’s right, but I don’t know how to get there in advance.’ (Claes Oldenburg).
 

Provenance:
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Barbaralee Diamonstein, New York
Private collection, Hamburg
Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s South Kensington, 30 June 2004, lot 164
Private collection, New York
Evelyn Aimis Fine Art, Miami
Anonymous sale, New York, Christie’s, 13 November 2013, lot 208
William Louis-Dreyfus, Mount Kisco
The Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection.
 

Claes OLDENBURG

Giant Balloon in the Shape of a Screw: Sketch for a Poster for an Exhibition in Japan

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