Henri Gaudier Brzeska ‘Male Nude, Head and Shoulders’

1913
Black and coloured chalks
h63 x w51cm

Provenance:
Browse & Derby, London, 2002; Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 2005

 

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska along with Jacob Epstein and Eric Gill are considered the fathers of modern British sculpture. In a sustained burst of daring creativity before the First World War, they revolutionised their field, according to art historian Richard Cork. As his great friend Ezra Pound said of Gaudier ‘the volume and scope of the work is, for so young a man, wholly amazing, no less in variety than in the speed of development.’ This is currently the focus of a dedicated display at Tate Britain.

Gaudier, known primarily for his sculpture, was an avid draughtsman carrying a sketchbook with him wherever he went. Although born in France, Gaudier is considered part of British art history due to the extended time he spent in London. During this time he became a friend of Wyndham Lewis and other leading literary and artistic figures, and his work was shown in avant-garde exhibitions, such as the Vorticist exhibition of 1915. The present work possibly depicts Ossip Zadkine (1888-1967), a Russian-born artist who lived in France, primarily recognised for his sculpture.

Gaudier was killed tragically young in the First World War and in his lifetime his work was appreciated by only a small circle, but since his death he has become widely recognised as one of the outstanding sculptors of his generation and an unfulfilled genius. Pound wrote of Gaudier ‘A great spirit has been among us, and a great artist is gone.’

Large-scale works by Gaudier-Brzeska are rare to the market. The present work example was purchased nearly 20 years ago for £20,000.

£20,000

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