A selection of spectacular works by José de Creeft, famed sculptor of the much-loved sixteen-foot Alice in Wonderland sculpture in central Park, New York, will be offered in an important sale of European Works of Art at Olympia Auctions
on Thursday November 25, 2021.
The Spanish-born American artist and sculptor, de Creeft was revered for his modern sculpture in stone, wood and metal. He created predominantly female figural forms and was an early proponent of the direct carving approach to sculpture a method of carving directly into the material, without the use of a model or maquette. His most well-known work for which he received global recognition was his sculpture of Alice in Wonderland, whose face was modelled on his daughter, Donna Maria and designed for children to climb on. The work commissioned by George T. Delacorte Jr. as a memorial for his wife, Margarita in 1956 sits to this day near East 74th Street in Central Park and was dedicated by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses during a gala public event in 1959. His works are in the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as well as private collections around the world.
The works in this sale include Cordova a carved pink hardstone figure by José de Creeft (1884-1982). carved J. de Creeft on its base. The stunning work comes with a commemorative diploma from the Art Deco exhibition, Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris 1925. It is estimated to fetch £2,000-£3,000 (lot 534). A white Georgia marble head titled David was in the artists private collection. The head was carved in circa 1968, with the face later polished and an added tongue created at the back, which was inscribed by his wife, the sculptor Lorrie Goulet (b.1925), as an homage to her husband, two years before his death. It has an estimate of £1,500-£2,000 (lot 533).
A carved Belgian black marble head and shoulder bust of a female in the sale is titled Enigma. Smooth lines and a serene depiction of a female, it dates from circa 1916. It is inscribed J de Creeft on its base and carries an estimate of £2,000-£3,000 (lot 536).
A work titled Creative Form is an abstract adaptation of a female form carved in elm. Dating from circa 1928, it is inscribed to base J. de Creeft and estimated to fetch £2,000-£3,000 (lot 535). Unusually for de Creeft is a painting in the sale. A self portrait of the artist in oil on canvas captured with the sculptural tools of his trade in hand. A casual depiction of himself, it features the rounded curves of his sculpture. It is signed by the artist and carries an estimate of £800-£1,200 (lot 532).