S3 Top 50 Sculptors c

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Note that to minimise the entries and the opportunity for confusion, the text and image sources are not shown here – do follow the links to the sculptors or their works and you will find a proper acknowledgement of the sources.

Aristide Joseph Bonaventure Maillol

The square shouldered and well-developed, but heavy-set torso is that of Maillol’s Catalan wife, Clotilde, who is recognizable as the model for many of Maillol’s earlier sculptures, including the monumental Night.

From its radical beginnings to its final fascist incarnation, Italian Futurism shocked the world, but no single work exemplified the movement than this sculpture by one of its leading lights, Umberto Boccioni.

Starting out as a painter, Boccioni turned to working in three dimensions after a 1913 trip to Paris in which he toured the studios of several avant-garde sculptors of the period, such as Constantin Brancusi, Raymond Duchamp-Villon and Alexander Archipenko.

Boccioni synthesised their ideas into this dynamic masterpiece, which depicts a striding figure. The piece was originally created in plaster and wasn’t cast in its bronze until 1931, well after the artist’s death in 1916 as a member of an Italian artillery regiment during World War I.

Umberto Boccioni

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space

Constantin Brâncuși

Mlle Pogany

Born in Romania, Brancusi was a sort of proto-minimalist, Brancusi took forms from nature and streamlined them into abstract representations.

This iconic piece is a portrait of his model and lover, Margit Pogány, a Hungarian art student he met in Paris in 1910.

The first iteration was carved in marble, followed by a plaster copy from which this bronze was made. The plaster itself was exhibited in New York at the legendary Armory Show of 1913, where critics mocked and pilloried it.

But it was the most reproduced piece in the show. Brancusi worked on various versions of Mlle Pogany for some twenty years.
Jacob Epstein’s Day and Night (1928) carved portland stone statues were for London Underground’s Headquarters at 55 Broadway, London.

When they were unveiled, the graphic nudity of the sculptures was just too shocking for 1920s Londoners. Newspapers started a campaign to have the statues removed. One company director offered to pay the removal cost and the managing director at the time took responsibility and offered his resignation.

Epstein agreed to remove a couple of inches from the penis of the smaller figure on Day and ultimately the furore died down.

Sir Jacob Epstein



Henry Moore

Reclining Figure

Reclining Figure

Double Oval

This was the first figure Moore sculpted in brown Hornton stone, and it was heavily influenced by an Aztec sculpture, the Chacmool figure, of which he saw a cast in a Paris museum.

Moore said of the Chacmool figure that it was the most important work to influence his early career: Its stillness and alertness, a sense of readiness…

Moore’s own Reclining Figure is emblematic of the influence of non-Western art on his earliest work, something that came to him in part though Roger Fry’s book Vision and Design.

The figure is also one of the earliest instances of Moore’s use of the reclining figure, a motif that would become central to his mature style.

The middle image shows a Moore Reclining Figure from 1957-8, for the UNESCO HQ in Paris.

Double Oval: expresses a seemingly impossible balance between bulk and grace. The surface, smooth in some places and rough in others, gives the sculpture a tactile quality and creates a sensation of depth and shade.

Like many of Moore’s works, “Double Oval” contains hollow spaces, which not only offer the viewer a glimpse of the landscape beyond and portion of the other form, but also heightens the sense of balance and harmony.
Lobster Trap and Fish Tail, is one of Calder’s earliest hanging mobiles and the first to reveal the basic characteristics of the genre that launched his enormous international reputation and popularity.

For Arc of Petals, Calder, a fastidious craftsman, cut, bent, punctured, and twisted his materials entirely by hand, the manual emphasis contributing to the sculptures’ evocation of natural form. Shape, size, colour, space, and movement combine and recombine in shifting, balanced relationships that provide a visual equivalent to the harmonious but unpredictable activity of nature.

Flamingo is a 16 m tall stabile located in the Federal Plaza in front of the Kluczynski Federal Building in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was commissioned by the United States General Services Administration and was unveiled in 1974, although Calder’s signature on the sculpture indicates it was constructed in 1973.

Calder’s structure is a prominent example of the constructivist movement, first popularised in Russia in the early 20th century. Constructivism refers to sculpture that is made from smaller pieces which are joined together.

Like other pieces by the artist, the title of Carmen is a woman’s name, which, while it certainly has literary and musical connotations, does not make the sculpture a simple illustration, but actually functions as an independent work, as pointed out by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1946: Calder does not ‘suggest’ anything: it captures genuine living movements and shapes them. ‘Mobiles’ have no meaning, make you think of nothing but themselves. They are, that is all; they are absolutes.

Alexander Calder

Lobster trap and Fish Tail

Arc of Petals



Barbara Hepworth

Monolith (Empyrean)
Monolith (Empyrean): is said to have been a memorial to Hepworth’s son Paul Skeaping and his navigator, who were killed on active service with the RAF in Malaya in 1953.

Hepworth (pictured) said: The monolith is a monument to those who seek their freedom in the upper air even though it involves fire and falling earthwards. [source: artuk.org]

Sited on the South Bank from 1954-61. Purchased from Hepworth by the London County Council in 1959. It is now at Kenwood, London

From 1960 to 1965, Isamu Noguchi laid the Billy Rose sculpture park on the slope of the museum grounds and divided the area into different sections with walls made of rough, unprocessed field stones. It is used to show works by important sculptors from the 19th century, and his six Heimar pieces were used to punctuate these.

Isamu Noguchi

Heimar (edition of six)

Jeff Koons

Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Michael Jackson and Bubbles is a porcelain sculpture by Jeff Koons. It was created in 1988 within the framework of his Banality series.

Bubbles was Jackson’s domestic animal who was bought by the artist from a Texas research facility in 1983. It has been claimed by the media that he was Jackson’s best and faithful friend who even joined the singer on his world tours and helped in the household.

Jeff Koons used a press photo of Jackson and Bubbles as a template for his sculpture. It is almost identical to the artist’s work except for a slight variation of the posture. Koons changed Jackson’s direction of view and thus adjusted the composition to the requirements of a sculptural work which has to take into account many different viewing angles.
Everyone I have ever slept with 1963-1995: consists of a tent appliquéd with the names of everyone the artist had ever shared a bed with. It was first shown at Charles Saatchi’s Sensation exhibition held at the Royal Academy in London.

My Bed by Tracey Emin was first created in 1998, then exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1999 as one of the shortlisted works for the Turner Prize.

It consisted of her bed with bedroom objects in a dishevelled state, and gained much media attention.

Although it did not win the prize, its notoriety has persisted. It was sold at auction by Christie’s in July 2014 for £2,546,500.

Tracey Emin

Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995

My Bed

Louise Bourgeois



The works that have come to define Louise Bourgeois career are her sculptures of spiders, some of which tower 30 feet into the air and menacingly loom over viewers’ heads.
Bourgeois’s spiders are enduring sources of intrigue for many.
They have been the subject of a public exhibition at Rockefeller Center in New York in 2001, a longterm display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and many more spaces around the globe.
Bourgeois created spiders of all different sizes, including small-scale brooches and overlapping networks of legs and bodies into the 2000s.

Maman was made for the opening of Tate Modern in May 2000 as part of Bourgeois’s commission for the Turbine Hall. Maman is a monumental steel spider, so large that it can only be installed out of doors, or inside a building of industrial scale.

Supported on eight slender, knobbly legs, its body is suspended high above the ground, allowing the viewer to walk around and underneath it. A meshed egg sac contains seventeen white and grey marble eggs that hang above the viewer’s head, gleaming in the darkness of their under-body cavity.
Completed in 1998, the Angel of the Northis the largest sculpture in Britain. The work faced considerable opposition during its design and construction phases, but is now widely recognised as an iconic example of public art and as a symbol of Gateshead and of the wider North East.

Iron:Man is a statue by Antony Gormley, in Victoria Square, Birmingham, England. It is said by the sculptor to represent the traditional skills of Birmingham and the Black Country practised during the Industrial Revolution.

It was originally named Untitled, but gained the nickname Iron Man, which Gormley requested be changed to Iron:Man and become the official name for it.

Anthony Gormley

Angel of the North

Iron Man

Eduardo Catalano

Floralis Genérica

Floralis Genérica is a sculpture made of steel and aluminum located in Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, Avenida Figueroa Alcorta, Buenos Aires, It was a gift to the city by the Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano.

One of the characteristics of the flower is an electrical system that automatically opens and closes the petals depending on the time of the day. At night the flower closes, emanating a red glow from inside, and reopens the following morning. This mechanism also closes the flower if strong winds blow.

Catalano once said that the flower is a synthesis of all the flowers and, at the same time, a hope reborn every day at opening.

The sculpture is located in the centre of a park of four acres of wooded boundaries, surrounded by paths that get closer and provide different perspectives of the monument, and placed above a reflecting pool, which apart from fulfilling its aesthetic function, protects it. It weighs eighteen tons and is 23 metres high.
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living has become embedded in popular culture as one of the most iconic images of contemporary art. 

Conceived by Damien Hirst in 1989 whilst at Goldsmiths, the ‘Natural History’ work consists of a thirteen-foot tiger shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde, weighing a total of 23 tons. The shark is contained within a steel and glass vitrine three times longer than high and divided into three cubes. 

According to the artist, the title was, just a statement that I had used to describe the idea of death to myself. Thought of prior to the sculpture, it was taken from Hirst’s student thesis on Hyperreality and the work of Robert Longo and Umberto Eco. Hirst recalls liking the title’s poetic clumsiness because of the way it expressed, something that wasn’t there, or was there.

The Virgin Mother: One half of the statue depicts a naked pregnant woman, while the other half shows what’s beneath the skin – the muscles, the bones, the foetus inside the womb.

Hirst’ has suggested that it referenced painter Edgar Degas and his 1881 painting Little Dancer of Fourteen Years.

Damien Hirst

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

The Virgin Mother

Anish Kapoor

Turning the World Upside Down
Turning the world upside down by Anish Kapoor.

It is a free-standing 5m x 5m hour-glass sculpture of polished stainless steel.

It simply achieves its title.

Note that to minimise the entries and the opportunity for confusion, the text and image sources are not shown here – do follow the links to the sculptors or their works and you will find a proper acknowledgement of the sources.

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