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Sale IT192 Lot 1

Congregation of mixed media on panel: 36 1/2 x 13 in., 44 1/2 x 21 in. (framed)
Framed in original gold velvet lined frame; verso signed, numbered and titled: Ossorio / #7,1967 / "Garden Enclosed" verso label: Cordier & Ekstrom Inc., 978 Madison Avenue, New York 21 CE-1570; green Sotheby's label

Ossorio was born in the Philippines in 1916. He studied in England from the age of ten to thirteen and then moved to the United States in 1930 to continue his studies at Portsmouth Priory. In 1934, Ossorio attended Harvard. In 1949, Ossorio met Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, and in the fall he went to Paris and met Jean and Lili Dubuffet. He forged important friendships with both men. Ossorio said "(Pollock) was carrying on exactly in the tradition that I was interested in and in a way had bypassed the Renaissance and had gone back to a much earlier tradition of art in terms of dealing with forms and shapes dictated by the ideas rather than by appearance." Jean Dubuffet "showed him the value of reaching inward for inspiration rather than starting with an object or world external to himself." Just a few years later, in 1952, upon the suggestion of the Pollocks, Ossorio buys his home "The Creeks" in East Hampton, a sixty acre peninsula on Georgica Pond with a mile of waterfront. "The Creeks" would become a hive of activity to the artists in the area - Pollock, Krasner, de Kooning, Newman, Motherwell and Rothko amongst others.

Between 1959-1969 Ossorio made some of his most interesting pieces, "Congregations." In a 1968 interview with Forrest Selving Ossorio, a year after Garden Enclosed was finished, he describes his ideas and methods, "I have taken to calling them congregations simply because they all work together and the parts are unified to a final end, working for one final effect....You are using not only the shape that was there before, you are implying the forces of nature, the neglect, the six months' weathering on the beach; or it might be a fresh piece of wood cut into a shape....In a lot of recent work I've used large areas of what looks almost like random color, which are from the pails in which I mix the plastic, or the jars in which the plastic comes. When the paint is used up there remains this extraordinary film of beautiful color which pulls away from the buckets like glass. It became apparent to me that what I was admiring was a totally different sense of order with rules of its own and could be incorporated into the canon of aesthetic activity. So I've used that in a number of cases. And the use of bone or horn - one tends to forget that horns remind you that people need living weapons. They are also things that are useful in their own right, used for any number of purposes other than what they were designed for in the have all this material prepared; sheets of plastic - as in the case of the recent work - bins of different objects, the bones, the shells, the what-have-you. Then comes the actual work of executing them. I do a sketch of a background. The ground is done first. Then I place the objects on the panel that they'll finally end up on. Once that is more or less settled they're all removed, put on another table, and I put the pastes and the adherents on and work that way. Which means that always there is a certain amount of adjustment to make simply because of displacement of volume and that sort of thing. Frequently there are changes as I work on the final panel. But the major elements are usually all set and done before I put them in the final place.' (
Ossorio's works can be found in Museums and Collections around the world from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York to Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, Madrid in Europe.

Provenance: Cordier & Ekstrom; Estate of Emily B. Staempfli until Sotheby's Arcade Modern & Contemporary, February 28, 1992, Lot no. 354; purchased at this sale and by descent to the present owner

Literature: B.H. Friedman, "Alfonso Ossorio," Harry Abrams: New York, 1974, illustrated no. 166
Estimate $40,000-60,000

Sold for $140,000.00

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