February 21, 2016


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Lot 382: Ibram Lassaw

Lot 382: Ibram Lassaw

Bosom sculpture (pendant)

Executed 1956-1957
3.5" x 3.25"
Together with North Carolina Museum of Art catalogue, vintage silver gelatin print, and copy of receipt from The Kootz Gallery
Provenance: The Kootz Gallery, New York, New York;
James Byrnes, Los Angeles, California;
Thence by descent
Illustrated: Panel's Choice 1957 exh. cat. Cover illustration.
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Inventory Id: 21382

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Ibram Lassaw (1913–2003) was a pioneering American abstract sculptor whose expressionistic and evanescent welded wire-and-alloy pieces presaged the open-form sculptures of later artists such as John Chamberlain and Mark Di Suvero. Like many modernist sculptors–most notably Alexander Calder, Harry Bertoia, and Claire Falkenstein–Lassaw turned to jewelry as a means to test theories and methods and practice his art in miniature. Starting in the early 1950s, Lassaw would create some 1,000 unique jewelry pieces, mostly pendants, in materials ranging from bronze and copper to gold plate. His jewelry manifests the same sense of dynamism and immediacy seen in his full-scale sculptures. Though Lassaw rejected the notion of representational art, he was fascinated by cosmology and concepts of celestial space–several of his sculptures are named for constellations–and these wearable artworks reflect that interest.

Lassaw's work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Lassaw, Denise. "A Brief History of Ibram Lassaw's Jewelry." 2015. Neu, Renée Sabatello. Jewelry by Contemporary Painters and Sculptors. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1967. Print. Schon, Marbeth. Modernist Jewelry 1930–1960: The Wearable Art Movement. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Pub., 2004. Print