Lot 70
Josef Šíma (1891 - 1971) BOUSSOLE (COMPASS)

98,5 x 67 cm (h x w)

Starting price
1 600 000 CZK
   |   64 000 €
Price realized
3 100 000 CZK
   |   124 000 €
price without premium
This mysterious female torso is one of three themes that Šíma accented in his work from the mid-1920s. He first used this motif in early 1927 in illustrations for Jouve's short story "Beau regard", the famous collection "Le Paradis Perdu", and Durych's collection of stories "Dolls". By mid-year Šíma was focusing on female torsos as his main subject. In various but related variations, independently or in combination with other typical motifs, the torso can be seen throughout Šíma's work: Neskutečná těla [Unreal Bodies] 1927; Evropa [Europe] 1927; Building 1928, Vzpomínka na Iliadu [Memory from the Iliad] 1934, and others. It is necessary to note that in modern painting, the portrayal of the torso as a separate, independent object was quite unusual. In Šíma's art, female torsos have a strong erotic charge and often express the modern cult of eroticism, just as the prehistoric torso sculptures of Venus expressed the cult of fertility. The torso in this work is not quite completely dematerialized; it does not levitate, as it would in later years. A variation on the same subject and title dated 1927 was published in the journal Musaion 1929-1930, p. 169. This work was exhibited at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris in 1968, where it was listed under number 138 as "Boussole" from the collection of Jaroslava Vondráčková. The auction house obtained the painting from the collection of a major Czech collector living in Germany. Watercolor, charcoal, tempera on paper, signed and dated "Šíma 1928" on bottom left.