We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


No 329



Robert Klippel

Australia, United States of America

19 Jun 1920 - 19 Jun 2001

Alternate image of No 329 by Robert Klippel
Alternate image of No 329 by Robert Klippel
Alternate image of No 329 by Robert Klippel
  • Details

    Other Title
    Opus 329
    Media category
    Materials used
    construction of brazed and welded steel, geometric sections, found objects, formed sheet metal
    69.5 x 64.0 x 49.5 cm without base; 154.5 x 77.5 x 55.0 cm with base
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    D G Wilson Bequest Fund 1998
    20th & 21st c Australian art
    Accession number
    © Robert Klippel Estate

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Robert Klippel

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    With a career spanning six decades, Robert Klippel was one of Australia’s leading sculptors. His work investigates the relationship between the organic and the mechanical; a duality that he saw as central to life and culture in the 20th century. ‘No 329’ stems from this concept. It was described by artist James Gleeson as a brilliant and seemingly effortless sculpture, and is Klippel’s masterwork from the 1970s.

    In 1944, aged 24, Klippel began evening classes in sculpture at East Sydney Technical College while working at the Navy Gunnery making scale models for recognition training. Following his military discharge, he increased to full-time classes under the tuition of Lyndon Dadswell. In 1947 he left Australia for London to further his studies, living and working at The Abbey, where he met Gleeson and enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art. He moved to Paris in 1948, where he held his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Nina Dausset in 1949. Here he encountered surrealist ideas, which had a liberating effect on his work, leading him to experiment with automatism and techniques of spontaneity.

    In 1950, Klippel’s finances forced his return to Sydney to paid work, reducing his sculptural output. During this time, however, he acquired new skills, taking night courses in arc-welding, silver soldering and panel-beating. Metals allowed him to sear into space in ways that earth-bound wooden structures could not sustain. In 1957 he moved to New York where he explored the unlimited ‘vocabulary of shapes’ available in junk metals. Using detritus - the chance fragments of modern disposable society - he created complex configurations with new life and meaning. By the late 1960s he had begun to shift his emphasis from using primarily machine parts to steel sections.

    ‘No 329’ is one of Klippel's most imaginatively gripping as well as formally successful works. It highlights his individualistic commitment to a ‘humanised’ concept of sculpture, which emphasises the trace of the artist’s hand and labour.

    Klippel aimed to synthesise sculpture and landscape, and bring nature and technology together. Created from found objects and extruded steel sections, ‘No 329’ presents a hybrid landscape-city, reminding viewers of man-made structures in urban, industrial environments as well as plant forms.

  • Audio

    No 329 - Robert Klippel 2:36

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 8 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 16 publications

Other works by Robert Klippel

See more works