Abakanowicz installation nets record price

Caminando consists of 20 so-called walking figures created in 1998-99. Kalbar/TFN

Caminando, an installation by renowned Polish sculptress Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017), has been auctioned off for over PLN 8 million (EUR 1,900,000), a record for the Polish art market, the Onet portal informed on Tuesday.

Caminando consists of 20 so-called walking figures created in 1998-99. The bronze figures were previously owned by the late US film actor Robin Williams, and were later purchased by a private collector who subsequently put them up for auction in Warsaw.

Born on June 20, 1930, in Falenty near Warsaw, Abakanowicz studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and the Higher School for Plastic Arts in the northern seaside resort city of Sopot. At first a painter specialising in monumental gouache works, she soon turned to sculpture and textile art. In the mid-1960s, she developed her renowned "Abakans," large sisal-woven spatial constructs which combined sculpture with architecture and revolutionised artistic weaving.

Abakanowicz won international fame with her 1970s 'Alterations' and 'Embryology' series, the former including such well-known works as 'Heads,' 'Backs,' and 'Sitting Forms,' for which she used hemp rope and jute cloth hardened with synthetic resin.

In the following decade, she turned to traditional sculpting materials like bronze, stone and wood, subsequently working on large-sized installations in Italy, Israel, Germany, the US, South Korea and Lithuania. One of the biggest works in this series, 'The Unrecognised Ones,' stands in the Citadel Park in Poznan, western Poland.

In the 1990s, Abakanowicz showed a fascination for the Japanese butoh dance theatre and created choreography for Polish and Japanese butoh dancers.

Abakanowicz's works are in the collections of more than 70 museums, including the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. The artist died in Warsaw in 2017.

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