Edwina Sandys, the renowned British-born artist and author, granddaughter of Winston Churchill, launched her retrospective book, Edwina Sandys ART this week. Hosting a party of friends and art critics at the loft where she lives with her architect husband, Richard Kaplan, a hundred friends crowded into the large studio space for the book signing and cocktail party. The bright red entrance hall is hung with Edwina's colorful Matisse-like, poppy red and white silk screen prints on paper from the Yin Yang series. Six large Frolics, painted aluminum sculptures, guard the entrance to the loft.
Among the crowd having fun with Edwina were Arlene Dahl and Marc Rosen, the artist Christo, architect Richard Meier just back from India, artist son of Joan Collins Sacha Newley, Harry Benson, the photographer whose next book is The Beatles for Taschen, Ashton Hawkins, a long-time admirer of Edwina's work, Marsia Holzer the artist in Dowry leather jacket, Mary McFadden, dancer Carmen De Lavallade, Christine Ebersole, Agapi Stassinopoulos, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Massimo Vignelli, Rafael Vinoly and Lucas Parker Bowles.
Christo admired Edwina's extraordinary bronze "Christa" (1975), the female sculpture of Christ on the cross, that hung in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York in 1984, causing a sensation. Next month, after 27 years, "Christa" will be shown at the Alexandre Gertsman Contemporary Art Gallery in the "Retrospective of the Art of Edwina Sandys."
The dramatic loft entrance turns into an 18-foot-high gallery space; the building was once the Ball and Black Jewelry Company, the Tiffany of 1850. The Frolics lead into the great room, where the angel paper maquettes used for large pieces and bronze heads, and marble silhouettes, are displayed in the open plan loft. This room epitomizes the way Edwina and Richarad Kaplan live. "Reflecting the very essence of the multi-faceted book, this room is the picture of our lives, the art represents past, present and future ideas. The family photographs of the Churchills, my sons Mark and Hugo Dixon, placed next to photographs of the philanthropic Kaplan family and drawings of friends and family," explains Edwina.
Harry Benson, frequent photographer of the red-haired Edwina, loved the colorful book. "Edwina's art is a remarkable achievement," said Benson. "She is the only person ever to make a bronze sculpture of a female Christ. Edwina is daring and her sculptures imaginative." Edwina has created large sculptures for three UN Centers around the world, and used sections of the Berlin Wall for a 32-foot long-piece "Breakthrough," installed at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill gave his historic Iron Curtain speech.
A model of the "Millennium Circle" sculpture is laid out on the coffee table in the loft, a vast future 75-foot-high project for the artist, inspired by Stonehenge. "Those great stones have been in and out of my consciousness all my life" she says "interpreting Stonehenge -- a circle of a series of trygliths, pairs of upright stones connected by a lintel across the top.Cut out from the upright stones are the shapes of Women, who stand polished and free."
Anthony Haden-Guest, author and art critic, has followed Edwina's work for decades. He has written a brilliant foreword for the book. "Sandys has a natural talent for line. Her line can sing through space or summon up a concrete form, being at once powerful and effortlessly fluid, like the line achieved by a skater or a dancer, you might prefer not to dwell upon the amount of effort with which such effortlessness has been achieved. The Surrealists -- and Sandys often seems to channel the Surrealists -- were provocative, but not much fun. Sandys is lots of fun," he writes. The book launch was lots of FUN.
"Edwina Sandys ART" is a 222-page book with text by Caroline Seebohm. Foreword by Anthony Haden-Guest. Introduction by Sir Roland Penrose. Published this week by Glitterati Incorporated.