Discover a maverick master of cubism at Eykyn Maclean gallery

Alexander Archipenko is celebrated for his explorations of the human form and the interplay of negative space

Form on Blue Background, 1962
Form on Blue Background, 1962 | Image: Estate of Alexander Archipenko/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Alexander Archipenko’s celebrated depictions of the human form take centre stage at Eykyn Maclean gallery in New York from November 9 to December 14 – the first solo exhibition devoted to the late artist in the city since 2005. A contemporary of Picasso and Braque, Archipenko is best known for pushing the boundaries of sculpture and cubism, and subverting the concept of the solid sculpture with space around it – creating voids within the artworks themselves. “He explored the groundbreaking use of negative space, a term he entitled ‘space encircled’,” says Nicholas Maclean, co-founder of the gallery. Diverse works from Archipenko’s oeuvre will go on show, highlighting the avant-garde artist’s passion for mixed media and the radical methods of production that contributed to his sculptural style.

Seated Figure, 1936
Seated Figure, 1936 | Image: Estate of Alexander Archipenko/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
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Seated, Black, 1934-1936
Seated, Black, 1934-1936 | Image: Estate of Alexander Archipenko/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The show, entitled Alexander Archipenko: Space Encircled, has been organised in collaboration with noted fine-art consultant and Archipenko Foundation and Estate representative Matthew Stephenson, and includes important sculpted pieces ($75,000-$1m), such as Boxers, a bronze statue depicting athletes in motion; Seated Figure – a bright terracotta figurine measuring 15.5in, executed in 1936; and Seated Woman Combing her Hair, 1915, which all epitomise Archipenko’s application of cubism to statuary. “Sculpto-paintings” – a process devised by the artist combining both disciplines to create dynamic, textural art – really steal the limelight. Take Oval Figure, a wood, metal and Bakelite collage from 1957. Works on paper include Form on Blue Background, a striking gouache and pencil drawing on azure poster board from 1962 (prices for these pieces range from $35,000 to $75,000). “We are thrilled to reintroduce one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century to a New York audience,” says Maclean.

Boxers, 1913-14
Boxers, 1913-14 | Image: Estate of Alexander Archipenko/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Seated Woman, 1915
Seated Woman, 1915 | Image: Estate of Alexander Archipenko/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
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