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Art by Bernar Venet

225.5º ARC X 5

Cor-Ten steel
410 by 415 by 90cm., 161 3/8 by 163 3/8 by 35 1/2 in.

Executed in 2009, this work is unique.

Bernar Venet's monumental steel sculptures are the outcome of an extended process of artistic and intellectual development. Born in 1941, he began producing sculpture in the mid 1980s, two decades after he relocated to New York from Nice. The interim period was marked by distinct phases of both academic and artistic pursuit. Venet became familiar with the New York based Minimalist and Conceptual artists, including Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, sharing with them the belief that art should not be restricted to traditional conceptions of aesthetic beauty. He chose instead to view art in objective terms as a type of code and began producing conceptual diagrams based on mathematical principles. From 1967 Venet studied mathematics and physics at Columbia University and then went on to teach art theory at the Sorbonne.

The precise lines, curves and angles that characterize his early graphic works form the basis of the immense steel arcs. for which Venet is now best known. The titles of these solid steel sculptures, including that of the present .225.5º Arc x 5, provide an exact description of the sculpture's mathematically determined composition. Despite their very concrete definition, each arc succeeds in conveying a distinct sense of movement, as if rotating about a fixed central point. They begin and end at different degrees on the imaginary circumference, their gyroscopic motion bringing the near realisation of the circle which the sculptor has left incomplete. Every element of Venet's sculptures exists in a state of balance and composure without ever appearing inert. Rolled not sculpted, embossed not inscribed, they are the product of an industrial process which shares with Minimalist and Conceptual sculpture the disavowal of the artist's hand.

Venet has exhibited widely throughout his career. His monumental sculptures have occupied some of the most prestigious urban spaces in the world, including La Défense, Paris, Park Avenue in New York and Alexanderplatz, Berlin. A regular exhibitor at Sotheby's outdoor sculpture shows at Isleworth, Florida and Chatsworth, his monumental works contrast spectacularly against this magnificent natural landscape.

Sotheby's is holding a private sale of sculptures for well-heeled customers. Sotheby's returns to Chatsworth in Derbyshire’s Peak District for its fourth selling exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture. Increasingly recognized as one of the most prestigious platforms for displaying monumental works in an outdoor setting, Beyond Limits promises to be as innovative as ever, coming at a time when the debate around large-scale public sculpture has never been more topical. 30 works by an international array of artists have been carefully placed within the Capability Brown-designed and Joseph Paxton-engineered gardens at the very heart of England’s most breathtaking country estate. Bronzes by Aristide Maillol and Henry Moore will be juxtaposed with contemporary pieces in iron, steel, copper and concrete by artists ranging from Antony Gormley, Marc Quinn and Jaume Plensa to Yayoi Kusama, Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt. All works are available for private sale, they are not going to auction.

Chatsworth House
DE45 1PP
United Kingdom