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Kabinett Sector, Art Basel Miami Beach
Claire Falkenstein: Fusions

December 6 – 10, 2023


1 of 50
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1955 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1955
copper and glass
1 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches / 2.5 x 4.4 x 4.4 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1955 gl...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1955
glass and steel wire
3 3/4 x 9 x 3 1/2 inches / 9.5 x 22.9 x 8.9 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1955 gl...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1955
glass, nails and rusted sardine box
3 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 5 inches / 7.9 x 9.8 x 12.7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1958 gl...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1958
glass and steel wire
2 1/4 x 3 3/4 x 3 1/4 inches / 5.7 x 9.5 x 8.3 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1958 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1958
copper and glass
2 1/4 x 4 x 3 1/2 inches / 5.7 x 10.2 x 8.9 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1965 gl...

Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1965
glass and copper
12 3/4 x 14 3/4 x 13 inches / 32.4 x 37.5 x 33 cm

Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1965 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1965
copper and glass
9 1/4 x 16 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches / 23.5 x 42.5 x 21 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1965 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1965
copper and glass
8 1/4 x 20 x 15 inches / 21 x 50.8 x 38.1 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1968 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1968
copper and glass
5 1/4 x 11 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches / 13.3 x 29.8 x 17.1 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1968 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1968
copper and glass
12 1/2 x 13 x 11 1/4 inches / 31.8 x 33 x 28.6 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1968 co...

Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1968
copper and glass
14 1/2 x 20 x 15 inches / 36.8 x 50.8 x 38.1 cm

Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1968 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1968
copper and glass
11 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 13 1/8 inches / 29.8 x 34.3 x 33.3 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
4 1/4 x 2 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches / 10.8 x 5.7 x 10.8 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
3 x 3 x 4 1/4 inches / 7.6 x 7.6 x 10.8 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches / 3.8 x 1.9 x 3.8 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 5/8 x 3 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches / 4.1 x 8.3 x 3.8 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 7/8 x 1 3/8 inches / 3.8 x 2.2 x 3.5 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
6 x 13 x 11 inches / 15.2 x 33.0 x 27.9 cm
 
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches / 3.8 x 6.3 x 6.3 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 x 3 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches / 5.1 x 9.5 x 8.9 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 3 x 2 3/4 inches / 3.8 x 7.6 x 7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches / 2.5 x 4.4 x 4.4 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 x 3 1/4 x 3 inches / 5.1 x 8.3 x 7.6 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 x 6 1/4 x 3 inches / 5.1 x 15.9 x 7.6 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 3/4 x 3 x 3 3/4 inches / 4.4 x 7.6 x 9.5 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/4 x 3 x 2 3/4 inches / 3.2 x 7.6 x 7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 3 inches / 3.8 x 10.8 x 7.6 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 x 2 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches / 5.1 x 6.3 x 7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 3/4 x 4 x 2 1/2 inches / 4.4 x 10.2 x 6.3 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches / 5.7 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 4 x 3 1/4 inches / 3.8 x 10.2 x 8.3 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 3/8 x 3 x 2 inches / 3.5 x 7.6 x 5.1 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 1/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches / 5.7 x 8.3 x 5.7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches / 3.8 x 7 x 4.4 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
3 1/2 x 5 x 3 3/4 inches / 8.9 x 12.7 x 9.5 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 x 3 1/2 x 2 5/8 inches / 5.1 x 8.9 x 6.7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 x 4 x 2 1/4 inches / 5.1 x 10.2 x 5.7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches / 3.8 x 9.5 x 6.3 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 3 inches / 5.7 x 11.4 x 7.6 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 2 1/4 inches / 4.4 x 7 x 5.7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 3/4 x 4 x 2 inches / 4.4 x 10.2 x 5.1 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 1/8 x 2 1/2 x 2 inches / 2.9 x 6.3 x 5.1 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 7/8 x 3 1/4 x 3 inches / 4.8 x 8.3 x 7.6 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches / 4.4 x 8.3 x 6.3 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 3/4 x 10 x 5 inches / 7 x 25.4 x 12.7 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 7/8 x 5 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches / 7.3 x 14 x 8.3 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...

Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
2 1/2 x 9 x 2 1/2 inches / 6.3 x 22.9 x 6.3 cm

Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1970 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1970
copper and glass
1 3/4 x 6 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches / 4.4 x 15.9 x 11.4 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled (Fusion),...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled (Fusion), c.1970
copper and glass
15 3/4 x 11 x 9 1/2 inches / 40 x 27.9 x 24.1 cm
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) Untitled, c.1971 co...
Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997)
Untitled, c.1971
copper and glass
7 7/8 x 17 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches / 20 x 45.1 x 34.9 cm
 


Press Release

Preview Days (by invitation only)
Wednesday, December 6, 11AM–7PM
Thursday, December 7, 11AM–7PM

Public Days
Friday, December 8, 11AM–6PM
Saturday, December 9, 11AM–6PM
Sunday, December 10, 11AM–6PM

Visit Michael Rosenfeld Gallery at Booth A17

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is proud to participate in the Kabinett sector of Art Basel Miami Beach with an installation of twenty-four small-scale sculptures by Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997) from her celebrated Fusion series. Drawn from the holdings of the artist’s Foundation, the vast majority of the intimately sized works on view have never been publicly exhibited.

An interdisciplinary artist whose career spanned seven decades, Claire Falkenstein does not fit easily into any school or movement. Comprising a wide variety of mediums—wood, ceramic, and metal sculpting, painting, prints, jewelry, and more—the Fusions are perhaps the greatest testament to her artistic ingenuity, as they encompass a seemingly infinite array of shapes, scales, and palettes. Composed of welded metal and melted glass, the Fusions embody the dichotomies that exemplify the artist’s practice as a whole: solid and fluid, opaque and translucent, durable and fragile.

Falkenstein developed the Fusions after a trip to Venice, Italy inspired her to incorporate Murano glass into her sculpture. Material experimentation was a cornerstone of Falkenstein’s artistic practice throughout her career, and the Fusions came about through a methodical process of trial and error. After determining the precise temperature required to securely bond the glass and metal, Falkenstein developed the technique through which all Fusions were made: She first created a welded metal armature into which she placed pieces of glass in specific joints, “as a jeweler sets a jewel.” The object was then fired in a kiln until the two materials “fused,” allowing the final form to be determined by the uncontrolled interaction between the glass and metal. Scholar Maren Henderson writes of the Fusions:

“[Experiment], especially with an element of risk, was now a fully realized sculptural method. Process itself was an authentic aesthetic expression, as were chance and anti-form. The Fusions carried materials to the breaking point, testing their essential character to the degree of altering or even destroying them. Glass was heated well beyond becoming malleable to the point where it collapsed or even burned. Sheet metal surfaces were heated until they warped. Edges were torn, scarred or burned. Accidents were welcomed. And chance became a significant component of the process and the result.”[1]

Falkenstein’s prolific experimentation with the Fusion sculptures resulted in a diverse body of work. Fusions exist in a wide range of configurations, with some embodying a minimalist approach while others are densely complex; likewise, some examples exhibit a kaleidoscopic array of colors, while others contain only one or two.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Falkenstein felt a deep appreciation of the region’s natural beauty, and the visual contrast between the dense woodlands set against the flowing sea became a major trope in her art. Concentrating in art, philosophy, and anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, Falkenstein was awarded her first solo exhibition by the East-West Gallery in San Francisco in 1930, the same year she graduated—a rare achievement for such a young artist. In 1933, Falkenstein received a grant to study at Mills College in Oakland under Cubist sculptor Alexander Archipenko. Her sculptures of the 1930s and 1940s comprise biomorphic abstractions rendered in wood and ceramic. Her work was first shown in New York City in 1944, when the Bonestell Gallery mounted a solo exhibition. In the late 1940s, she began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), where she met abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still, who became a lifelong friend and encouraged her to take a more open-ended approach to composition.

In 1950, Falkenstein moved to Paris, settling into the growing scene of American abstract artists there and soon befriending Sam Francis, Paul Jenkins, and Mark Tobey. A thoroughly individual artist who never sought association with a particular school or movement, Falkenstein attributes her confidence in her unique sensibility partly to her time in Paris, explaining, “the French allowed a kind of individual action. …I felt it so strongly that right away my so-called ‘looking within’ really worked. That's when I developed my own vocabulary.’”[2] Feeling a new sense of freedom, she began working in metal and soon developed the artistic vocabulary that became the bedrock of her mature style. Her work was supported by the influential critic Michel Tapié, who defined “art autre” as a European parallel to American abstract expressionism. Writing in the catalogue for her 1958 exhibition at Il Segno Gallery in Rome, Tapié lauded, “Claire Falkenstein is probably the artist who has most brought Sculpture to the heart of what the artistic epopee of today must be.”

Falkenstein returned to the United States in 1963, settling in Venice, California, where she would remain for the rest of her life. She continued to produce a wide variety of Fusions through the mid-1980s. Represented by Galerie Stadler in Paris and Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, Falkenstein completed numerous public commissions while continuing to evolve her studio practice until her death. Her first public commission in Los Angeles was a welded copper tube and glass fountain for the California Federal Savings and Loan Association. Completed in 1965, the Cal Fed Fountain was specially designed by Falkenstein to emphasize that the water that flowed through the construction was as integral to the sculpture’s composition as the complexly intertwined copper and glass elements, resulting in the impression of an endless, dynamic formal continuity.

After regularly exhibiting her work for fifteen years, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery became the exclusive representative of The Falkenstein Foundation in 2014. The gallery has since mounted two solo exhibitions, Claire Falkenstein: A Selection of Works from 1955–1975 (2016) and Claire Falkenstein: Matter in Motion (2018), the latter of which was accompanied by a catalogue featuring an interview by Paul J. Karlstrom, former director of the Archives of American Art, and a tribute by Lynda Benglis.


[1] Maren Henderson, “Sculpture,” in Claire Falkenstein (Los Angeles, CA: The Falkenstein Foundation, 2012), 108.

[2] Oral history interview with Claire Falkenstein, 1995 Mar. 2-21, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-claire-falkenstein-12659