“Small Flight Study” by Sorel Etrog

By: Liz Edwards

Lot 13 – Sorel Etrog, RCA (1933-2014), SMALL FLIGHT STUDY, 1964, bronze, edition of 7; signed and numbered “2/”. 8.25 x 14.25 x 4.5 in — 21 x 35.6 x 11.4 cm. Estimate $20,000-$30,000

Sorel Etrog’s steady interest in standing forms, often anthropomorphic, anchored his work in the human experience, natural balance and patterns of growth. Etrog intended for his figures “to soar from the base like the trunk of a tree … leaving the drama to the top.”[1]

The elongated horizontal axis of Small Flight Study is a key departure from Etrog’s signature attenuated figures, and it is one of the artist’s earliest works to exhibit what became a recurring motif in his oeuvre: the link. Here two winged figures are adjoined with a connecting loop, creating tension simultaneously away from and toward one another in an attempt to fly. Created in 1964, Small Flight Study was produced following the artist’s return to Canada from Europe where his discovery of Etruscan art inspired his Links Period. The 180-foot long, fully-realised bronze sculpture, Flight, created for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ’67 is currently located at the Bank of Canada Plaza at Wellington and Bank Street, Ottawa.

Small Flight Study comes from the collection of renowned Canadian book designer Frank Newfeld (illustrator: Alligator Pie; designer: Leonard Cohen, The Spicebox of Earth (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1961); designer: Sheila Watson, The Double Hook (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1959); designer: William Withrow, Sorel Etrog (Toronto: Wilfeld, 1967). He and Etrog were friends and associates, and Small Flight Study was given to Newfeld by the artist.

About the auction

Held online from May 24-29, 2024, our spring auction of Canadian and International Fine Art brings together exceptional work from around the world. This auction features celebrated Canadian artists such as Cornelius Krieghoff, A.Y. Jackson, P.C. Sheppard, A.J. Casson, Bertram Booker, Alexandra Luke, Jean Paul Lemieux and Yves Gaucher as well as important First Nations artists Norval Morrisseau, Roy Thomas and Alex Janvier. International highlights include work by Jules Olitski, Karel Appel, Kwon Young-Woo, Norman Bluhm, Józef Bakoś, Léon Lhermitte and Montague Dawson.

Previews will be available at our Toronto gallery, located at 275 King Street East, Second Floor, Toronto:

 Thursday, May 23 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
 Friday, May 24 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
 Saturday, May 25 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Sunday, May 26 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Monday, May 27 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
 Tuesday, May 28 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Or by appointment.

Please contact us to find out more.

[1] Alma Mikulinsky, Sorel Etrog: Life and Work, Art Canada Institute, https://www.aci-iac.ca/art-books/sorel-etrog/style-and-technique/#the-links-period-196371

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