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Design Sale Helsinki presents Timo Sarpaneva

Timo Sarpaneva

– A pioneer of glass art

Design Sale Helsinki presents a high-quality selection of glass sculptures by the internationally acclaimed Finnish artist Timo Sarpaneva (1926–2006). As an artist and designer, Sarpaneva was very versatile and worked with various materials, from ceramics and wood to metal and textiles. However, glass was the most liberating of materials for him, allowing him to break free from conventionalism and three-dimensionality. It opened its deepest reaches to the artist and took him on a journey into the fourth dimension. He was not afraid to experiment with different techniques and boldly developed new ways of working with glass in unprecedented ways.

Sarpaneva has been awarded numerous prizes and recognitions, such as the Grand Prix at the 1954 Milan Triennial and the Lunning Prize in 1956. He was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1958.

A 'Tyrsky' (Surging wave) sculpture, signed Timo Sarpaneva. Estimate 10 000 - 12 000 EUR

The sculpture Tyrsky (Surging wave), which reflects the foaming of a breaking wave, is one of the highlights of Design Sale Helsinki. Sarpaneva was a seaman at heart, and the Finnish Archipelago was for him the most beautiful region in the world. This sculpture captures the very moment a wild wave of seawater hits and scatters, foaming free in every direction. Sarpaneva has almost frozen the moment in this sculpture but still retained the freedom of water in it.
Timo Sarpaneva gave the Tyrsky artwork as a gift to the founder and owner of FinnFlare's textile factory in 1966. The family had just bought a plot of land in the Åland archipelago on Svenskär Island. Jointly with this nautical work of art, they also received a maritime book with the artist's handwritten inscription.

Sarpaneva invented the technique used in the Railo (Crevasse) sculpture of the Finlandia series almost by accident. He wanted to create a texture on the glass. The glass was blown into a simple wooden mould, with saw blades and wire inside. The molten glass burned to a branch in the mould and formed a coal surface, as a result of which the pattern of the wood had been completely copied onto the glass. The mouth-blown high, narrow Railo is the masterwork of the glassblower. The mould of this rare piece is stored in the Finnish Glass Museum.

A sculpture 'Railo' (Crevasse), signed Timo Sarpaneva. Iittala 1964. Estimate 10 000 - 12 000 EUR.

The Nameless sculpture from the Glass Age series is powerful in its formal language, where the technique used in the sculpture is part of its drama. Sarpaneva created the Glass Age sculptures out of cold glass, which he collected from cooled glass ovens. The sculpting was then carried out in Toijala in Manu Jokinen's tombstone workshop. The Nameless sculpture was made with a wire saw intended for stonework, the course of which followed the artist's plan. The work process took several hours. Finally, the glass sculpture was buffed and polished. The end result was an artwork that reflects the artist's intensity and energy by going back to the origins of sculpting and the physicality of carving the surface of the material.

The sculptures are for sale at the Design Sale Helsinki October 8–24.

Read more about Design Sale Helsinki

To the catalogue

Sculpture 'Nameless' signed Timo Sarpaneva 1983. Estimate 10 000 - 12 000 EUR.

Consignments are underway Contact our specialists

Anna Rosenius
Anna Rosenius
Head specialist Finnish design
+358 (0)40 1284 977
Nan Jarjis
Nan Jarjis
Specialist silver and design
+358 (0)50 340 5492