Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 175 - 7 March 2020

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 89

Rik Wouters (Belgium / 1882 - 1916)
Attitude - Pose (1908-09)


€ 60 000 - 80 000

This copy was cast by Nel, together with the copy for doctor Ludo van Bogaert, starting from the plaster model after one of the pleads of the dress on this plaster model had disappeared.
"Vème Salon des Indépendants" Brussels 1908 (copy in plaster)
"18ème Salon" La Libre Esthétique, Brussels 1911, cf. nr. 258
"Catalogue of an Exhibition of Works by Modern Belgian Artists" The Royal Academy of Arts, London 1915
"7 Belgische schilders" Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 1916
"Exposition de l'art belge ancien et moderne" Musée des Beaux-Arts & Kunsthalle, Bern 1926
"Honderdjarige tentoonstelling van de Belgische Kunst" PvSK, Brussels 1930 "Rik Wouters" PvSK, Brussels 1935
"Rik Wouters, 1882-1916" Museum Boymans, Rotterdam and Gemeentemuseum, the Hague 1946
"Rik Wouters. Beeldhouwwerken en schetsen" MSK, Ghent 1947
"XXVIIIe Biënnale van Venetië" Venice 1956
"Rik Wouters" Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris 1957
"Rik Wouters" Roger Avermaete, Uitgeverij Arcade, Brussels 1962, p. 213 (mention of this copy, among others)
"Rik Wouters" catalog retrospective PMMK Ostend & Museum Van Bommel Van Dam, Venlo 1994-1995, Pandora 1994, cf. nr. 6-1 reprod.
"Rik Wouters. Visies op een levensloop" Olivier Bertrand, Brussels 2000, cf. p. 179 reprod.
"Rik Wouters. Bronnen en werken" PvSK, Brussels 2002, exhibition cat., nr. 45 (reprod. of this copy)
"Rik Wouters. Retrospectieve" Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, Somogy Éditions d'Art, Paris 2017, cf. nr. 174, p. 226 reprod.
This copy will be included and represented in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the sculptures by Rik Wouters by Mr. Olivier Bertrand.
acquired directly from Nel Wouters, widow of the artist, by the father of the present owner


In 1908 Rik Wouters models his first ‘dressed' female sculpture and calls it "Attitude", his beloved wife Nel being his muse again. It is one of his impressionist sculptures revealing the artist's rebellion against the smooth and cool nudes of the idealistic salons. Through “Attitude”, Wouters does artistic research into spatiality, liberty of movement and construction of form. The bent torso and the sideways looking head suggest a delicate and graceful spiral movement. The slightly bent head guides the viewer through her arm on the back towards the hand elegantly holding her skirt, which then blows into a pleated play. The light dances on the irregular surface and reflects on the different facets of the female figure so the sculpture seems to shine. Despite its volatility, this "Attitide" is very voluminous and architectural, draped by the folds of the dress.

"Attitude" is shown for the first time in plaster at the Vème Salon des Indépendants in Brussels in 1908. Only when Wouters signs a contract with Giroux in 1912, his sculptures are cast in bronze. His wife Nel then extends this contract for a period of 10 years, until it is terminated in 1932. After this, she has the exclusive right to cast bronzes of the plaster she recovers from Giroux. After 1932, Nel made six bronze copies (all Verbeyst), four of which complete and two incomplete.

In these incomplete copies one of the skirt's folds is missing. The only plaster Nel had at her disposal was broken around 1952-53, thus later casts show this special feature. All plasters in Nel's possession were destroyed on her death in 1971 by her third husband Jules De Carnière.

We thank M. Olivier Bertrand for providing the additional information.

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