While Sore Etrog (1933- 2014)  is most famous for his bronze sculptures, his early "Painted Constructions" were an important (and revolutionary) debut body of work that launched an international career.  

Etrog's grandfather in Romania was a carpenter whose wood shop had a profoundly aspirational effect on young Etrog. Some of his earliest works during art school consisted of painted wood constructions, after becoming dissatisfied with his hand-shaped canvases. Early-on Etrog developed a visual language that reverberates throughout his oeuvre, with a noted tension between abstraction and figuration. 

After being accepted to the Brooklyn Museum Art School in 1958 on scholarship, Etrog was exposed to the museums' collection of African, pre-Columbian, and Pacific Islands sculptures. This engagement with tribal and ancient creations, in addition to the current of Modernism, influenced his own work. Etrog eagerly leaned into the primitive and esoteric nature of his visuals and began experimenting with more sculptural materials.  

It is worthwhile to contextualize Etrog within the New York art scene of the end of the 1950's. Several artists, notably Ed Clark and Frank Stella, began to exhibit and experiment with shaped canvases; ushering in an era where the boundaries of sculpture and painting were destabilized. While Etrog was not working on canvas, nor creating work that was purely abstract, his "Painted Constructions" are an important expression during this era. Furthermore, Etrog had been creating wall-mounted shaped artworks, whether on canvas or panel, as early as 1952 while still a teenager in Tel Aviv. 

As innovative as this series was for Etrog, it was relatively short-lived. In 1959 Walter Moos would present a solo-show of Etrog's "Painted Constructions" in his eponymous Toronto gallery. However 1960 was the last year he created these works, dedicating himself to "conventional" sculpture thereafter. 

This is a rare opportunity to acquire an early and unique wall-hung work by Sorel Etrog. As one of the last painted wood constructions, Etrog demonstrates his refined visual language in the first medium he worked with and mastered. 

Additional images available on request. 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

The Nightguard

USA, circa 1960

Painted Wood Relief

Signed by artist and inscribed "20" on verso

Titled and dated on Galerie Suzanne Bollag labels (Zurich, Switzerland) 

23"W 45"H (work)

Very good condition

Provenance: The Estate of Walter Moos, Toronto  

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