BOLESŁAW BIEGAS (1877-1954) Dans l'arc en ciel (Painted circa 1920 - 1922)

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Lot 24AR W TP
BOLESŁAW BIEGAS
(1877-1954)
Dance de la joie

Sold for £ 112,562 (US$ 143,682) inc. premium
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE DUTCH COLLECTION; THE SELECTED CONTENTS OF AN AMSTERDAM CANAL HOUSE
BOLESŁAW BIEGAS (1877-1954)
Dance de la joie
signed 'B. Biegas.' (lower right)
oil on burlap
215.8 x 185.2cm (84 15/16 x 72 15/16in).
Painted circa 1920 - 1922

Footnotes

  • The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Comité Biegas. This work will be included in the forthcoming Bolesław Biegas catalogue raisonné, currently being prepared.

    Provenance
    The artist's estate, Paris.
    Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva.
    Galerie Robert Vallois, Paris.
    Anon. sale, Cornette de Saint Cyr, Paris, 30 June 1987, lot 51.
    Private collection, The Netherlands (acquired circa 1999).

    Bolesław Biegas was a Polish sculptor, painter and writer who was affiliated with the Symbolist movement and a member of the École de Paris. During his education at the School of Fine Arts in Krakow between 1887 and 1901, Biegas gradually abandoned the traditional academic aesthetics and began creating modern geometrical sculptures with simple forms. He was influenced by the symbolist aesthetic that was popularised in Krakow by the writer Stanislaw Przybyszewski. In 1901 Biegas was expelled from university and moved to Paris where his works received critical acclaim. From that year onwards, he exhibited at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Salon d'Automne and Salon des Indépendants. Several galleries in Paris devoted solo exhibitions to Biegas' work, most notably Galerie Bernheim-Jeune and Galerie André Seligmann, and his works were widely discussed by eminent critics such as Guillaume Apollinaire and André Fontaines.

    During the First World War, Biegas returned to the use of geometric forms in his painterly oeuvre. Being part of the artistic community in Paris, he drew inspiration from the avant-garde and adopted the concepts of the Cubists and Futurists into his own creative process. The impact of the Salon de la Section d'Or, held in October 1912, can clearly be seen in Biegas' work of this time. This exhibition, held at Galerie la Boétie in Paris, brought together a wider group of artists taking inspiration from the roots of Cubism, such as the Delaunays, Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger and František Kupka. From 1912 onwards, circular forms and dynamic gestures appeared in the works of these prominent avant-garde artists, where they combined the influence of Picasso and Braque's spatial experiments with the theories of artists and thinkers such as Paul Signac and Apollinaire. From this nucleus, a number of new artistic movements would originate that would have a noticeable impact on Biegas, such as Orphism and Spherism.

    Spherism was to become the conceptual development borne of Cubism and was built on the recent understanding of particle physics, namely that the fundamental root of all physical matter is not a square but a circle. For Biegas, the use of geometric, and particularly circular forms led to a series of spherical pictures with dream-like and symbolic imagery of which Dance de la joie is a monumental example. In 1919, Biegas exhibited 40 of these spherical works at the Sociéte d'Art Tanit, based in the Pavillon de Magny on Avenue Victor Hugo. While Biegas' sculpture of this period was increasingly nostalgic in its outlook (the Polish artist was captivated by the late works of Auguste Rodin, especially Le penseur, and his work in marble was seen as part as of the Retour à l'ordre), his paintings became ever-more avant-garde in their scope. Dance de la joie is an ambitious composition, which sits within his aforementioned series of spherical paintings, but additionally relates very clearly to the contemporary experiments of Kupka, Gleizes and the Delaunays. While Biegas remains a unique figure amongst the émigré artists working in Paris in the years surrounding the First World War, he is in many ways a personification of the multifaceted, unbridled and borderless creativity of the time.
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