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Steel Sculpture

Steel sculpture appeared in art during the twentieth century. In previous centuries precious metals were the most frequently used in sculpture but the industrial revolution and urbanisation led to a wider use of more commonplace metals, including steel. Before that, bronze, a very resistant material, had been the medium of choice for sculptors creating artworks that would be installed outdoors.

Unlike other metals, steel is easily malleable at a high temperature. Stainless steel has the advantage of being very resistant to rust and harsh weather conditions, making it an ideal choice for outdoor sculptures. Indeed, over the course of the twentieth century it was often used for this purpose. Steel sculptures were used, and continue to be used, to decorate and enhance public spaces in cities as well as gardens.

One of the artists most well-known for his use of steel is Richard Serra. The material occupied a core part of his minimalist practice. In his early work, he used sheets of steel as well as steel rolls which were carefully balanced on the ground. To prevent the material from degrading and changing over time in an uncontrolled way, he coated the pieces with a solution which made them appear rusted. Later on in his career, Serra focussed on site-specific, monumental sculptures. His works were influenced by the environment they were destined for and thus perfectly suited to it. The curves of the sculptures encourage viewers to walk around them while the their impressive size dwarfs the viewers and leads them to reflect on the perception they have of their bodies in relation to indoor and outdoor spaces.

Another artist famous for his gigantic steel sculptures is Bernar Venet. You can find his huge steel arches in cities all over the world and you’ll also find some of his artworks on Artsper. Amongst the greatest sculptors working in steel, there is of course Alexander Calder, who succeeded in creating sculptures of surprising delicacy despite the hardness of the material. His colourful mobiles have become iconic artworks. How can such a dense material appear so light and frail? His sculptures are part of the kinetic art movement and the careful equilibrium that Calder achieved so deftly continues to fascinate viewers.

In a very different style, César also used steel, among other materials, to create works that are far less elegant. His “Compression” sculptures used lead, iron and steel to criticise our consumerist society.

Steel continues to be used by today’s contemporary sculptors, mainly for monumental sculptures. Indeed, several contemporary artists have demonstrated a mastery of steel. Chief among them, is Jeff Koons and his famous "Balloon Dog" made of stainless steel with a coloured mirror finish surface. With steel, Jeff Koons turned the ephemeral balloon dog into an almost eternal work. Another well-known example is Chicago’s "Cloud Gate" sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

On Artsper, discover modern sculptures and contemporary sculptures from the best art galleries. Explore Japanese artist Tsuyu’s elegant and poetic steel sculptures, Nicolas Dubreuille’s colourful and minimalist works and Paradox Creations’s sculptures inspired by Alexander Calder’s mobiles.



Collector’s Guide: Collecting Sculptures

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price,500 facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos price,501:1000 facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents facet,10500*Werke von aufstrebenden Künstlern|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Gemälde*gemalde category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Pintura*pintura facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones price,1001:5000 facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*moyen facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*grand facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulptur*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografía*fotografia category,9*Fotografie*fotografie facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,1671*Nature*nature facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Retrato*retrato facet,1644*Porträt*portrat price,1000:501 facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos facet,1827*Portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato*orientation-retrato category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Zeichnung*zeichnung category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*tres-grand category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Print*print category,15*Druck*editionen category,15*Edición*edicion facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,1830*Paysage*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landschaft*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Etchleben*etchleben facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,1680*Tier*tier facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)*petit facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 20 x 20 inch)|small*petit facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura price,5001:10000 facet,1650*Paysage urbain*paysage-urbain facet,1650*Städtische Landschaft*stadtische-landschaft facet,1650*Urban Landscape*urban-landscape facet,1650*Paisaje urbano*paisaje-urbano facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores price,50001 price,10001:25000 facet,1692*Géométrique*geometrique facet,1692*Geometric*geometric facet,1692*Geometrisch*geometrisch facet,1692*Geometría*geometria facet,12*noir|050002*noir facet,12*Black|050002*black facet,12*schwarz|050002*schwarz facet,12*negro|050002*negro facet,42*Rouge|FC2912*rouge facet,42*Red|FC2912*red facet,42*rot|FC2912*rot facet,42*Rojo|FC2912*rojo facet,1656*Graphic*graphic facet,1656*Graphique*graphique facet,1656*Gráfico*grafico facet,1656*Grafik*grafik facet,108*Öl*ol facet,108*huile*huile facet,108*oil*oil facet,108*al oleo*al-oleo facet,126*acrylique*acrylique facet,126*Acryl-*acryl facet,126*acrylic*acrylic facet,126*acrílico*acrilico price,25001:50000
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