Eduardo Paolozzi bronze self-portrait for sale

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2015-06-26 10:55:55

Eduardo Paolozzi bronze self-portrait for sale

Bonhams have announced the inclusion of an eight foot tall bronze self-portrait sculpture of Scottish artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi in their 20th Century British and Irish art sale on November 14th.

The 1987 statue is entitled The Artist as Hephaestus, and depicts Paolozzi as the Greek god of fire. It was commissioned by the London and Paris Property Group to adorn the front facade of their new London offices, and there it has stood on public display for 25 years.

Hephaestus was the Greek god of technology, sculptors, blacksmiths, fire and metals. He made the legendary weapons of the other gods: Eros’ bow and arrows, Achilles’ armour, and Hermes’ winged helmet and sandals. He is generally depicted with a blacksmith’s hammer and tongs and an anvil.

Paolozzi held a fascination for classical Greek mythology and sculpture. In 1946, right at the start of his interest in the fusion of man and machine, he made collages combining images of renowned Greek sculptures with machine parts.

Hephaestus famously built bronze automatons to work for him. From the mid 1980s, Paolozzi saw the human figure as much like an automaton, composed from geometric shapes, and this affinity between the artist and this Greek god is perhaps why Paolozzi chose him as the subject for this self portrait.

The statue presents the god holding, not his traditional blacksmith tools, but two sieve-like objects and an openwork sphere, one of the sieves made from a washing machine part.

Paolozzi returned to this figure several times in his career, also blending it with its Roman counterpart Vulcan. His two preliminary works for The Artist as Hephaestus were called Selfportrait with a Strange Machine, and Portrait of the Artist as Vulcan. In 1999 he created a huge figure of Vulcan from welded steel.

The statue is expected to sell for £150,000-£250,000.

Another Paolozzi statue, Master of the Universe (1999) will also be offered by Bonhams, a study of Newton in a mechanistic, cubist style, valued at £40,000-£60,000.

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