Artwork by Sorel Etrog,  Sadko, circa 1971

Sorel Etrog
Sadko, circa 1971

painted bronze sculpture
signed and numbered 1/7 on the base
23.5 x 15.75 x 15.5 ins ( 59.7 x 40 x 39.4 cms ) ( including base )

Sold for $27,600.00
Sale date: May 25th 2017

Estate of Janice Wolf, Philadelphia
Freeman’s Art & Design Auction, March 2016, Philadelphia
Private Collection, Ontario
Nicole Besharat, “Sorel Etrog : Recollecting things to come,” Nuvo Magazine, Winter 2001
Pierre Restany, Sorel Etrog, London/Munich, 2001, pages 31 and 101
Robert J. Belton, “The Art of Sorel Etrog and His Romanian Background,” Finnish Journal for Romanian Studies, Number 1, 2015, page 18
Ihor Holubizky, Sorel Etrog: Five Decades, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2013, pages 20-25 for illustrations of castings of “Sadko”

Romanian-born artist Sorel Etrog had his first solo exhibition in Canada in October 1959 at Gallery Moos in Toronto. The artist emigrated to Canada in 1963 and, three years later, represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. Etrog worked with the Michelucci foundry in the 1960s and 1970s during sojourns to Florence. “Sadko” is one of the striking works created during a stay in the early 1970s. Painted in luminous “Ferrari” red, Sadko's bolt-figure is present and proud, demanding the viewer's attention.

In a 2001 interview, Etrog describes how found objects are thought-provoking, seeing in them “potential transformation…not what they are, but what they can become.” An eye screw that Etrog had found on a street in Toronto inspired the “Screws and Bolts” series (1971-73). Belton writes that “by the time [Etrog] arrived at his Florence studio, he was totally absorbed by the possibilities of using nuts, bolts, and screw eyes as a new means of expressing the increasing mechanization of humanity.”

Etrog first exhibited these works at Staempfli Gallery in New York in 1972. The artist recalls how he revelled in the “challenge of their simplicity, the sensual directness of shapes,” telling George Staempfli, “they were fresh, funny, and erotic and that he would like them.” From an exhibition of these striking sculptures, came a commission for the monumental version of “Sadko” located in Bow Valley Square in downtown Calgary.

Writer Nicole Besharat observes that these works “are at once the most mechanical and sensual sculptures of his career, while the bold and good-humoured use of strikingly rich automotive paint reflects not only Etrog’s wit, but also his need to explore the spectrum of colour. When a viewer comments on the direct sexuality of ...[the large] (Bow Valley Square, Calgary), he replies with a mischievous smile and paraphrases Freud: 'A pencil is sometimes just a pencil.'”

This sculpture was acquired by Roger and Janice Wolf of Philadelphia. Roger Wolf was the president of Keystone Screw Corp., a leading manufacturer of screws, nuts and bolts.

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Sorel Etrog
(1933 - 2014) RCA

Sorel Etrog’s work develops a complex visual vocabulary that explores time and the permanent bond between the plastic arts, with architecture on one hand, and society on the other. Etrog explores spontaneous symbols, primal elements and the relationship between form and symbol. The artist described his art as "tension created by pulling together and pulling apart, with being stuck and being freed, a world of grabbing and holding on and losing hold...bringing shapes together but at the same time giving each an independence."

Etrog designed Canada's top film award in 1968, "the Genie" statuette (which was known as "the Etrog" until 1980). He received several important commissions, including those for Expo ’67, Montreal; SunLife Centre, Toronto; Windsor Sculpture Garden, Windsor, Ontario; Los Angeles County Museum, and Olympic Park in Seoul, Korea.