Having escaped Franco’s Fascist regime for Paris in 1939, Baltasar Lobo took a pivotal role in the vibrant avant-garde community of artists that settled in Montparnasse alongside Pablo Picasso, Jacques Lipchitz and Henri Laurens. As a young artist Lobo forged a particularly strong friendship with Laurens to whom he was introduced by Picasso and for whom he worked as an assistant.
This elegant fragment of the torso is characteristic of Lobo’s sensual representation of the human figure to which he would return repeatedly throughout his career. ‘Torse au soleil’ (meaning ‘Torso to the sun’) displays the Spanish sculptor’s radical approach to form as he reduces the body to an essence that reveals the underlying structure of eloquent curves in bronze. Surrounded by the work of pivotal Modernist sculptors Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi and Joan Miró in Paris, Lobo turned to the contours of the female form to explore abstraction. However, while Lobo teetered on the very edge of an abstract language, he maintained a constant connection to the balance, form and femininity of naturalism. In this sculpture two simplified, hemispherical breasts and a navel sit at an angle on a gently curved smooth surface, as if twisting upwards towards the radiant sunshine above. As the convex and concave forms of the body in sinuous lines of sharp and soft edges collide, they playfully construct the anatomy of a figure as well as a poetic biomorphic shape that seems to ebb and flow.
As a fragment of the female figure, ‘Torse au soleil’ recalls the splintered pieces of Greco-Roman antiquity gathered from the earth, as well as sculptors such as Rodin, who championed the partial figure as a sculptural form in its own right. The isolation of the torso in the present work also reveals Lobo’s fascination with the Surrealists whom he was exposed to in Paris. Separating the truncated torso from the rest of the figure, Lobo demonstrates the uncanny, hallucinatory power of the isolated body part.
Despite the political turmoil which defined his early career, Lobo’s deeply poetic sculptures earned him international recognition and critical acclaim. During this late period Lobo’s work was finally exhibited in his home town in Zamora before a permanent museum was also established. In 1984 he was awarded the Spanish National Prize for Sculpture. Lobo’s sculptures can now be found in major international collections including the Centro d'Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Tokyo National Museum; Museum of Modern Art, Luxembourg; National Gallery, Prague; State Gallery, Stuttgart and Fine Arts Museum, Bilbao.
Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris (acquired directly from the artist in 1989)
Private Collection, Switzerland
Bilbao, Galería Ederti, Baltasar Lobo, 1974 (another cast exhibited)
Zurich, Galerie Nathan, Baltasar Lobo: Marmor, Stein, Bronzen, Zeichnungen, 30 April - 10 July 1976, no.44 (another cast exhibited)
Bourges, Maison de la Culture, 1977 (another cast exhibited)
Albi, Musée Toulouse Lautrec, 24 March - 16 May 1978, Lobo: sculptures, dessins (another cast exhibited)
Frankfurt, Galerie Appel und Fertsch, Baltasar
Lobo, 29 February - 24 April 1980 (another cast exhibited)
Paris, Galerie Daniel Malingue, Lobo, 27 May - 9 June 1988 (another cast exhibited)
Caracas, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Lobo, November 1989 - 1990 (another cast exhibited)
Linz, Neue Galerie der Stadt, Lobo, Skulpturen Zeichnungen, 4 June - 8 August 1992; Tübingen, Kunsthalle Tübingen, 22 August - 4 October 1992, no.29, illus. pp.15 & 59
Osaka, Museum of Modern Art Umeda, Exhibition of sculptures by Baltasar Lobo, 3 - 13 June 1992; Tokyo, Ogawa Museum, 16 - 27 June 1992; Nagoya, Hasegawa Art, 1 - 18 July 1992
Zamora, Iglesia de la Encarnación, Lobo 1910-1993, esculturas y dibujos, December 1995 - January 1996 (another cast exhibited)
Caracas, Galería Freites, Baltasar Lobo, 23 May - 13 June 1999 (another cast exhibited)
This work will be included in the forthcoming Baltasar Lobo catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Galería Freites under archive no.7304
J.-E. Muller & V. Bollmann-Müller, Lobo, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre sculpté, La Bibliothèque des Arts, Paris, 1985, no.383 (another cast illus.)