15th Jan, 2019 10:00

The Barbara Holliday Collection of Modern British Art, Jewellery and Antique Furnishings

Lot 3


Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi RA (1924-2005)

Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi RA (1924-2005),
'Count Basie', bronze, signed and dated 1987, numbered 2/2,
39cm high

During the 1980s, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi produced a series of bronze cast heads. 'Count Basie' is one of these and was produced in a individuals, have exaggerated mouths for communication, eyes for observing and ears for hearing.
. numbered edition of just two. Each bust has a different patina. Number 1/2, held by the Tate, is green; 2/2, from the Barbara Holliday Collection and offered here at Sworders, is brown; a further unnumbered multiple held by the National Galleries of Scotland is brown-green.
The technique of collage is one that Paolozzi explored throughout his artistic career. He drew inspiration from Picasso's Cubism and the photomontage of Dadaism. It was only natural that his exploration of collage evolved from the two-dimensional surface of paper to the three-dimensional area of sculpture. His exploration of man, robot and machine during the 1960s and 70s clearly influenced the fragmented, angular bronze busts that he produced in the 1980s.
Paolozzi experimented at length with the deconstruction of the classical face; he took shop window dummies and enlarged the features, incorporated found objects and fragmented the classical lines, which left them modified beyond recognition. The resulting heads were thoroughly expressive, sometimes alarming and somewhat psychotic. The nightmarish, exaggerated faces reflected his interest in Surrealism, which he studied in Paris, and his exploration of childish art.
The psychotic heads sprung into realisation in the 1980s. He sculpted the busts in plaster and clay and embedded them with found objects, before casting them in bronze. Paolozzi began the series with a bust of Yukio Mishima, the Japanese writer.
Count Basie, the American jazz pianist and bandleader, also became a subject. The musician was a favourite of the artist (Paolozzi included a record by Count Basie in his Desert Island Discs selection). In continuation of his career-long interest in the found object, the artist found a plastic toy harmonica which he incorporated into the mouth of this bust. He enjoyed the link this created between voice, sound and music. It is particularly fitting that these busts, of creative and expressive

Sold for £15,000

Condition Report



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Auction: The Barbara Holliday Collection of Modern British Art, Jewellery and Antique Furnishings, 15th Jan, 2019


11 January 2019 9am - 5pm
13 January 2019 10am - 1pm
14 January 2019 9am - 5pm
15 January 2019 from 9am

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