Australia, 1920-2001


The unquestioned importance of Klippel’s output as a sculptor has masked the incredible diversity, ingenuity and visual excitement of his works on paper.  A vast body of work.  Many hold sculptural ideas or seem to portray actual sculptures; these are very informative of his thinking about sculpture at a particular time; also within them can be found his deepest sculptural aspirations.  But many, of equal importance, bear no association to sculpture.  He was as anxious that his works on paper should be free of obvious outside influence as his sculpture.  When he came across John Peart using the torn edge of paper in collages with intents similar to his, he was a little taken aback.

When the hologram 3D postcards arrived he hastened to try their potential in his work before Mike Brown could subject them to his dexterous and intelligent imagination.

Untitled, 1963
ink and watercolour on paper
45.7 x 30.3 cm
inscribed lower right: Robert Klippel – 5/8/63

The Les Wild collection: sculptures and works on paper by Robert Klippel, Watters Gallery, Sydney, 1997, catalogue no.11.


This important ink and watercolour study Untitled, 1963 is an outstanding example showing how closely some of Klippel’s drawings were to his sculpture.  Nineteen spikey metal sculptures related to drawings such as this were exhibited at Clune Gallery in 1963.  In this work, Klippel’s technique seems to have been to dapple the sheet almost at random with watercolour and while it is still wet to work through and around with ink to create the sculptural image.  This work is very similar to one completed on the same day and donated by James Mollison to the NGA Collection.

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