Description & Technical information

This large pastel, drawn in 1971, can be grouped with a number of paintings, watercolours and pastels of stones executed by Claudio Bravo in the early 1970s, while he was living and working in Madrid. As one writer has noted of these works, ‘In another series of still lifes one can find…references to Dada and Surrealist art. In the numerous paintings of stones on which Bravo worked in the early 1970’s, there are reminiscences of Jean Arp’s chance arrangements of objects as well as an even stronger visual relationship to many works by Yves Tanguy. This is true not only in so far as the objects themselves are concerned (the stones resemble the ectoplasmic blobs painted by many of the Surrealists) but also of the vague, amorphous desert-like space in which they rest. Another source for the stone paintings is Zen philosophy in which the artist was intensely interested throughout the 1970’s. In his readings in the processes of Zen meditation, Bravo was struck by passages describing meditation on stones thrown at random onto a surface. Each time they are thrown, they will take on a different configuration. They will also look completely different in their patterns when thrown by different people.’ As the artist himself was later to recall, ‘I experimented with Zen ideas in my own work then and did a group of paintings of stones thrown at random on a table.’

Two comparable small watercolours of stones, both dated 1971, are illustrated in a 1985 monograph on Bravo.

650 x 499 mm. (25 5/8 x 19 5/8 in.) [sheet]

Medium: Pastel on blue-grey paper
Signature: Signed CLAUDIO BRAVO in red chalk at the lower left and dated MCMLXXI in red chalk at the lower right.

Dimensions: 64 x 48.8 cm (25¹/₄ x 19¹/₄ inches)
Provenance: Galería Egam, Madrid, in 1971
Acquired from them by a private collection, Europe
Anonymous sale (‘Property of a European Collector’), New York, Christie’s, 20 November, 2007, lot 197
Private collection, New England.
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints