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Exceptional Modern sculpture from the Finn Family Collection to be offered at Sotheby's
Henry Moore, Seated Woman. Conceived in 1956-1957. Height: 63 in.; 160 cm. Estimate $4/6 million. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced that they will present Shaping a Legacy: Sculpture from the Finn Family Collection in their Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 16 May 2017.

Over the course of more than 50 years, David and Laura Finn together have amassed a diverse and esteemed collection of modern sculpture. Through their collecting, they developed not only a staunch patronage but also enduring friendships with many artists – particularly Henry Moore. Mr. Finn photographed and published Moore's sculptures over a number of decades, playing a vital role in expanding the artist’s audience internationally. Moore hand-selected Seated Woman (estimate $4/6 million) for the couple during a visit to his studio.

The Evening Sale will offer a selection of five sculptures from the Finns’ collection, with works by Moore, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Arp, Germaine Richier and Marino Marini together estimated in excess of $17 million. This group is united further by the fact that each piece was conceived in the late 1950s, during the period of turmoil and uncertainty following World War II.

Highlights from the collection will be shown in Hong Kong from 21-24 April, before returning to New York for public exhibition beginning 5 May.

Jeremiah Evarts, Senior International Specialist in Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department commented: "The Finn Collection represents a rare confluence of artistic insight and passionate collecting. David Finn is one of the most celebrated sculpture photographers of his time, immortalizing the work of many of the artists represented in his and Laura’s collection through sensitive and groundbreaking photography. The pieces that we are privileged to present this May are united in their expression of a post-war Existentialist sentiment, and together tell a compelling story of post-war Modernist sculpture in Europe. In a market that is increasingly seeking out exceptional examples of 20th-century sculpture, these works represent a rare chance to capture prime pieces with exceptional provenance.”

In addition to co-founding one of the largest and most renowned public relations agencies, Ruder Finn, in 1948, Mr. Finn is an accomplished sculpture photographer whose work has been critical to the appreciation of many great 20th century artists, including Marino Marini and Henry Moore. Once described as a “photographer of genius”, Mr. Finn’s prolific photography and extensive art publications brought the work of these European artists center stage and into countless American households. Among many others, this is showcased in Henry Moore Sculpture and Environment, his landmark book depicting hundreds of the sculptor’s figures around the world.

Alberto Giacometti, Buste de Diego. Conceived circa 1957. Height: 24 ½ in.; 62.2 cm. Estimate $10/15 million

Works from the Finn Collection are led by Alberto Giacometti’s Buste de Diego, one of the artist’s most formally-radical and visually-engaging sculptures. Measuring just over two feet in height, the work’s significant size contributes to its robust personification of the Existentialist movement during the contentious years of the Cold War. The sculpture presents the strong profile and rich, textural surface, which distinguished the artist’s best work.

The majority of Giacometti’s works from this time were designed and molded from the artist’s memory. The bust depicts one of Giacometti’s most frequent inspirations: his younger brother Diego, with whom he shared physical traits, manifesting into the autobiographical narrative reflected in this signed work. The figure’s expressive features are emboldened through Giacometti’s hands-on matiere petrie, or “kneaded method”, which is reflected in a number of characteristics: the tactile indentations and folds depicted in Diego’s jacket, captivating eyes, an accentuated nose, and parted lips—a telling attribute capturing the anticipation of a moment yet to arrive.

Henry Moore, Seated Woman. Conceived in 1956-1957. Height: 63 in.; 160 cm. Estimate $4/6 million
Seated Woman, one of Henry Moore’s best-known works, captures one of the artist’s abiding passions and the primary subject of his art: the human figure. The striking bronze sculpture belongs to a series of monumental female figures created in the 1950s that occupy a key position in the artist’s career.

Often interpreted as a pregnant figure based on the artist’s commentary, Seated Woman is a symbol of fertility and reinforces the common theme of motherhood that informed much of Moore’s work, with inextricable ties to his own childhood and subsequent parenthood. Produced first in plaster, then later cast in bronze, the marks on the monumental sculpture’s surface tell the story of its creation, through Moore’s use of spatulas and palette knives to manipulate layers of material, and the application of chisels, sandpaper and cheese graters to create a rich, textured exterior. The present work marked a bold new approach in Moore’s work created post-1950, with seated forms playing a predominant role in his creative output for the remainder of the decade.

Jean Arp, Torse de Pyrénées. Conceived in 1959. Height: 40 in.; 101.6cm. Estimate $1.5 /2.5 million
Jean Arp’s bronze sculpture Torse de Pyrénées is among the artist’s most distinct and striking works in bronze. Acquired from the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York, the piece captures the heart of Arp’s artistic triumph in its organic beauty, uncontrived or encumbered by formality. The curves exhibited in the work’s elegant and elongated form mirror those of the female torso; its irregular shape evokes the natural, poetic and mysterious elements found in everyday forms, such as the human anatomy. The sculpture is a striking example of the unique and transcendent beauty that came to be expected of the artist at the peak of his career, and the way in which Arp invited viewers to adapt his interpretations to their own expectations of the artist’s work.

Germaine Richier, Don Quichotte. Conceived in 1950-51. Height: 80 in.; 203.2 cm. Estimate $1.5/$2.5 million
One of two sculptures inspired by the Spanish novel of a similar name, Germaine Richier’s bronze sculpture, Don Quichotte serves as both a prime example of the artist’s most desirable subject and a highly-regarded favorite of her oeuvre. Like many of the other artists included in the Finn collection, Richier’s sizeable work explores the human form through a marked technical adventurousness, combining imposing size and robust texture. Once in the personal collection of Austrian entrepreneur and founder of Marlborough Fine Art, Frank Lloyd, the figure stands over six feet in height and bears resemblance to Alberto Giacometti’s existential masterpieces.

Marino Marini, Guerriero. Conceived in 1956-57. Length: 67 in; 170.2 cm. Estimate $700,000/$1 million
Unlike most equestrian images represented in Western art depicting cavalrymen and generals celebrating their victories, Marino Marini’s Guerriero interprets these figures with immense creativity and expressive force. The sculptures of riders and horses created by Marini post-WWII were conceived amidst a period of significant political transformation, as evidenced in Guerriero’s jagged lines, aggressive asymmetry, scarred bronze surface and distorted limbs, each characteristic evoking a pervasive sentiment of uncertainty and ensuing trepidation during The Cold War. The present work was included in the artist’s larger Warrior series, which explores the psychological effects of mechanized warfare at the time, but also forecasts a gruesome future that has yet to be realized.

Like Henry Moore, Marini was also close friends with David and Laura Finn. And much like Seated Woman, Marini handpicked Guerriero for the couple during a visit to the artist’s studio.

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