Philippe Hiquily French, 1925-2013


Philippe Hiquily was born in Paris in 1925. At the age of 18, he enlisted in the French Army, fighting in the campaign for Indochina in 1945. He began sculpting in the early 1950s, utilizing iron, sheet metal, brass, and aluminum. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1948-1953, working as a pedestal-maker under the sculptor Germaine Richier. Hiquily was also known to frequent the workshop of Jean Tinguely. In his final year of study, Hiquily’s Neptune won the school’s 1953 Prix de Sculpture.


He exhibited for the first time at Galerie Palmes in Paris in 1955. A second exhibition at Contemporaries in New York in 1959 afforded Hiquily the chance to interact with art world luminaries Leo Castelli, Rauschenberg, Rosenquist, Johns, and Noguchi, to name a few. Success came quickly for Hiquily, whose work was purchased by both the MOMA and Guggenheim prior to 1965. After 1960, Hiquily began creating surrealist furniture, and in 1980, shifted to working in bronze.


Hiquily’s work is seen as inherently anthropomorphic, and by extension, erotic. Their universal smoothness, combined with their naturalistic form—Hiquily often utilized elements resembling antennae, horns, and legs—lends his works a sense of balance and equilibrium. Critics have drawn a linear relationship between the sensuality embedded within his sculpture and the cultural movement toward sexual liberation that began in 1968; many consider him a herald of the revolution. He is related to the Surrealist movement and noted as a progenitor of Kinetic Art. Tending toward the use of scrap metal and objects, Hiquily can also be considered one of the Nouveau Réalistes. He participated in various ‘Happenings’ and starred in the 1965 film “Paris vu par…” directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Never a Surrealist or Abstractionist by name, Hiquily instead chose to work in an aesthetic vein all his own, and as such his work is remembered for its unique elegance and sense of enchantment.

Solo Exhibitions

“Hiquily,” Paris, 2016 (retrospective)

“Hiquily, Hommage Exhibition,” Galerie Gastou, Paris, 2015 (retrospective)

“Hiquily at the donjon of Vez Artcurial,” Vez, France, 2014 (retrospective)

Galerie Jean-Marc Lelouch, Paris, 2012

Galerie Modern, Taipei, Taiwan, 2011

Galerie Ratton-Hourdé, Paris, 2007

Galerie Gastou, Paris, 2005

“Fers Pièces uniques 1953-2001,” Galerie Ratton-Hourdé, Paris, 2001

Galerie Loft, Paris, 2000

“Fers 1954-1958,” Galerie JGM, Paris, 1997

“Metal Direct,” Galerie Thierry Salvador, Paris, 1992

Galerie Thierry Salvador, Paris, 1991

Galerie Trigano, Paris 1989

Galerie Boulakia, Paris, 1984

Maison de la culture, Amines, France, 1976 (retrospective)

“Pièges à Louves,” Galerie Bideau, Paris, 1976

“Accouplements,” Galerie Odermatt, Paris, 1973

Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, 1964

Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 1963

The Contemporaries Gallery, New York, 1961

The Contemporaries Gallery, New York, 1959

Galerie du Dragon, Paris, 1958

Awards and Memberships

Prix de Sculpture, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, 1953

Prix de Critiques, First Paris Biennale, 1959

William Copley Prize, New York, 1970

Chevalier de l’Ordre National des Arts et Lettres, 1985; Officer, 2010

Museums and Public Collections

Museum of Modern Art

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Hirshhorn Museum

Museum of Modern Art, Havana

Museum of Modern Art, St. Stephen

Museum of Modern Art, Montréal

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