Sculpture of horse, rider could fetch up to £800,000

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Horse and Rider, by Dame Elisabeth Frink
Horse and Rider, by Dame Elisabeth Frink

A large bronze sculpture of a horse and rider by Dame Elisabeth Frink is expected to fetch £600,000 to £800,000  at an upcoming auction of modern and post-war British art at Sotheby’s in London.

Frink, who died in 1993 at the age of 63, conceived the work in 1974 and cast the bronze in 1975. It is the second from an edition of three, plus an artist’s cast.

The work stands 2.44 metres (96 inches) tall.

It is being offered in the July 11-12 sale and comes from the collection of Milton Ginsburg, who has held it since 1979.

British-born Frink achieved great popularity through her monumental figurative sculptures and obtained important public commissions in both Britain and the United States.

One of the casts of the Horse and Rider stands on public display in Dover Street, Mayfair, London, just off London’s Piccadily.

The figure atop the horse is naked, sitting easily and apparently attracted by something away to the left.

The work avoids the aggrandisement of an individual.

Frink was fascinated by the concept of horse and rider.

She had ridden as a youngster in Suffolk, but with her move to the south of France in 1967 for a time, discovered the horses of the Camargue, which brought a new strand of understanding to her interpretation of the subject.

The sense of a timeless connection began to creep into her sculptures and drawings of man and horse. The warrior element lessened, and the human element grew.

Commentators recognised this tendency almost immediately.

Despite its serenity, not far from the surface of Horse and Rider is strength and intensity.

The catalogue notes point out: “The energy of both man and horse is clear, and is indeed enhanced by the tension between image and execution that Frink employs. Look, for instance, at the mane, formed by streams of liquid plaster running down the neck, or the working of the surface that shapes the turns of the rider’s torso. Frink’s understanding of her medium allows her to bring to this sculpture a power that is still mesmerising almost forty years after its execution.”

Horse and Rider on the junction of Dover Street and Piccadilly, Mayfair, London.
Horse and Rider on the junction of Dover Street and Piccadilly, Mayfair, London. © Ham/Wikipedia

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