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Sale 2504 Lot 8
RICHMOND BARTHÉ (1909 - 1989)
Athlete Stretching (Male Figure).
Cast bronze with a dark brown patina, 1933. Approximately 787x254 mm, 31x10 inches. With the artist's signature and the date "33" inscribed on the base. Cast by Priessman Bauer & Co., Munich, Bavaria, with the stamped foundry mark on the base edge.
Provenance: private collection, New York (1968); thence by descent to the current owner, New Jersey.
This impressive bronze is a very scarce and significant figure by Richmond Barthé. It is the only Barthé bronze we have located that was cast in Europe. Other significant artists from the 1930s including Gaston LaChaise and Paul Manship had works cast at the Priessman Bauer & Co. foundry.
This large nude displays Barthé's development of a modern male figure in sculpture - the pose and modelling emphasize the rippling muscules of the back and shoulders of the stretching athlete. Samella Lewis's monograph illustrates two photographs of this bronze unpainted, entitled Athlete Stretching and dated 1932. Margaret Vendryes describes it futher in her 2008 monograph. Barthé exhibited this figure in one of his first commercial gallery exhibitons in New York. In October of 1933, this and other sculptures by Barthé were part of the inaugural exhibition of the Caz-Delbo Gallery at the Rockefeller Center, New York - a group exhibition that also included works by Manet, Matisse, Picasso and Pissarro. Vendryes illustrates a photograph of the plaster model, entitled Male Figure and dated circa 1933. Vendryes describes how a critic singled out this figure for its combined "strength of a powerful body with the poised consciousness of beauty". She also notes that Barthé left the cast unpainted to resembe pale marble - as seen in the photographs. Lewis pp. 180-181; Vendryes fig. 3.7, p. 58.
Estimate $35,000 - 50,000