Émile Gilioli, The Steeple

Émile Gilioli
The Steeple

Émile Gilioli (French 1911–1977) studied at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During this period he was strongly influenced by Greek archaic and ancient Egyptian sculpture as well as Cubism. After serving in the Second World War he returned to Paris and joined a group of artists working in the abstract art of simple geometrical shapes. He was exhibited for the first time in Sweden in 1958 in a group exhibition together with Pablo Picasso and Henri Laurens at a gallery In Stockholm. Gilioli often used colourful, expensive materials such as gilded bronze, Carrara marble and Onyx. These materials were particularly suited to his work. They gave the polished surfaces of his abstract forms a vivid expression, responsive to changing light conditions.

The Steeple (bronze 1958 purchased 1959) was commissioned by Marabou and is, in spite of its title, an abstract sculpture. The big polished bronze block is divided by geometrical, sharp angles creating a visual performance. The viewer is enticed into walking around the whole sculpture to follow the variations and breaks in its smooth surface; a pattern continuously changing with the angle and strength of the daylight.