February 21, 2016


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Lot 161: Alexander Archipenko

Lot 161: Alexander Archipenko

Untitled (Two seated females)

c. 1931
Gouache on paper
Signed lower right
Sheet (vis.): 14" x 22"; Frame: 21.5" x 29.5"
Provenance: Salka Viertel;
Thence by descent;
Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above)
Estimate: $7,000 - $10,000
Price Realized: $7,500
Inventory Id: 21161

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One of the most internationally prominent artists and educators of the first half of the 20th century, the Ukrainian-born Alexander Archipenko (1887–1964) received formal artistic training in his native Kiev before moving to Paris in 1908. Enrolled briefly at the École des Beaux-Arts, he left the school to take up independent studies at the Louvre. There he was particularly drawn to Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek antiquities. By 1910, Archipenko had moved on from his classical studies and joined avant-garde art circles that included Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Marcel Duchamp, and Fernand Léger.

Over the next several years he undertook groundbreaking work that saw him introduce Cubist principles to sculptural forms, incorporating open spaces and opposing concave and convex curved surfaces to imply a sense of rhythmic motion. Archipenko also explored the use of collage in sculptural works made of materials as various as metal, glass, and wood.

After exhibiting extensively in Europe, Archipenko moved to the United States in 1923 and began a peripatetic career as a teacher. During the following decades he taught in cities including New York, Oakland, and Los Angeles–where he taught at the Chouinard Art Institute as well as his own school–Chicago, Kansas City, and Seattle, using a curriculum that employed traditional art studies and techniques as a foundation for modernist advances.

Karshan, Donald H. Archipenko; International Visionary. Washington: Published for the National Collection of Fine Arts by Smithsonian Institution, 1969. Print. "Alexander Archipenko Papers, 1904–1986, Bulk, 1930–1964." Archives of American Art, n.d. Web. 24 Dec. 2015.