October 12, 2014


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Lot 361: Arnaldo Pomodoro

Lot 361: Arnaldo Pomodoro


Silvered bronze
Signed and dated
17.125" x 3.75" x 2"
Together with copy of invoice from Felix Landau Gallery
Provenance: Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, March 10, 1962);
Thence by descent
Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000
Price Realized: $43,750
Inventory Id: 16361

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Arnaldo Pomodoro (b. 1926.) is widely regarded as Italy's greatest post-war avant-garde sculptor. His enigmatic work is evocative of conflict and reconciliation, destruction and renewal. Pomodoro has explored such themes in bronze high reliefs that incorporate a kind of personal handwriting, composed of positive and negative spaces, gnomic symbols, glyphs, and cross-hatched striations. His three-dimensional works, notably his monumental Spheres Series, feature polished cast bronze surfaces broken by fissures and fractures revealing crystalline blocks, bars, and ribs that are, Pomodoro says, "an expression of an internal movement."

Pomodoro took an ostensibly oblique path to fine art. He trained as a civil engineer, and immediately after World War II served as a consultant on the reconstruction of damaged public buildings. In those years he also studied stage design and trained as a goldsmith. With his brother, Gio, Pomodoro moved to Milan in 1954 to open a jewelry design business. There he bonded with a community of artists and writers, among them Lucio Fontana, Enrico Baj, the poet Roberto Sanesi, and photographer Ugo Mulas. Energized and enlightened, Pomodoro found, in sculpture, a focus for all his skills: an architect's sense of scale, volume and proportion; a set designer's feel for drama, presentation, and narrative; and a jeweler's facility with metal and devotion to detail.

Towards the end of the 1950s, Pomodoro began his Tavola Series of sculptural reliefs. The planar Tavola saw Pomodoro exploring vital aesthetic, philosophical, and technical questions that he would examine in rounded three-dimensional form with his Spheres Series, which were first presented in 1963. This untitled piece from 1961 is a construction of sorts. It is composed of separate cast silvered bronze segments, or stages, built one atop another. Opposing vertical and horizontal forms in the piece imply a slow progression of stops and starts; hesitation and re-engagement. Yet the movement in the sculpture is ever upward, ultimately suggesting growth and renewal.

Similar examples from the early 1960s are in the permanent collections of the Museo del Parco in Portofino, Milan's Museo della Permanente, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Sculptures from Pomodoro's Spheres Series are displayed in venues including the Vatican, the United Nations headquarters, and the campuses of Princeton University and the University of California at Berkeley. Pomodoro's work is also found in the collections of numerous museums, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Courtauld Gallery.

"Pomodoro Arnaldo: Biography." Collection Online. Guggenheim Museum, New York, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.
"Pomodoro Arnaldo: Biography." Italica. RAI Italia, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.
"BAM/PFA - Art Exhibitions - Arnaldo Pomodoro / MATRIX 42." Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive. University of California, 01 Apr. 1981. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.
"Arnaldo Pomodoro." Guggenheim Museum. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.
"Little Book of Sculpture." Princetoniana. Princeton University, 2011. Web.