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Art by Manolo Valdés


470 by 430 by 420cm., 185 by 169 1/4 by 165 3/8 in.

Conceived in 2008, this work is number 3 from an edition of 4.

The beguiling headdress imbues the sculpture with a sense of movement and weightlessness that contrasts with the heavy bronze medium, its solid forms dissipating into the surrounding space. At once monumental and accessible, patent yet enigmatic,. Mariposas is characterized by a unique approach to volume and materiality that has become the defining quality of Valdés' large-scale sculptures and accounts entirely for their powerful, mesmerizing presence.

New York based painter and sculptor Manolo Valdés began his career as a member of .Equipo Crónica, a group of three young Spanish artists active between 1964 and 1981 whose large-scale Pop-inspired canvases incorporated social commentary and art historical reference with stylised pastiche of Masters old and modern. The group disbanded in 1981 upon the death of one of its members, Rafael Solbes, precipitating a new direction for Valdés as a solo artist; that year saw Valdés' first stand-alone exhibition at Galerie Maeght in Barcelona and the emergence of an artist whose work has sought to engage contemporary art with tradition and to revive the figurative tendency in both painting and sculpture.

Much of Valdés' Oeuvre is concerned with the legacy of the great classical masters – notably Goya, El Greco, Zurbarán, Ribera and, above all, Velázquez. Taking images from iconic works and transposing them into his own through endless permutations of colour, scale and medium, he creates what he has called 'the product of relived experiences' – a commentary on artistic tradition. Valdés takes inspiration not just from the Old Masters, but from modern artists, too. The present work, .Mariposas, is partly inspired by a Matisse painting; the elegant countenance, distinguished only by the brow and line of the nose, bears the influence of the Fauve's early portraits such as .Woman with a Hat (1905, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). But this work was also the fruit of happenstance, as Valdés has explained: 'one day, while strolling in Central Park, I saw a group of butterflies that had landed on top of a sculpture and the idea of the headpiece was born.' The elaborate headpieces which epitomise Valdés' sculpted female heads recall the early portraits of Matisse and Kees Van Dongen, further establishing the link with tradition.

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