The Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry – Meet the Artisans Behind the Sculpture

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Toni Putnam, Winter, 1999. Image courtesy of Stair.
Toni Putnam, Winter, 1999. Image courtesy of Stair.

The world often talks about art and artists. Less often do we hear about the role of an art foundry. However, the foundry plays a fundamental part in giving shape to the artist’s vision. An art foundry is not only limited to fabricating an idea. It co-creates some of the most famous sculptures the art world has witnessed by using technical skills and the ability to build on ideas and precise forms.  

Dick Polich founded the Tallix Foundry in 1968. Before this, he worked for the American Brake Shoe Company, making foundry products, and was involved in scholarship programs while pursuing his master’s degree from MIT. His past experiences and an interest in casting prompted the idea of establishing a foundry for fine art.

After setting up the foundry, Dick Polich worked with notable artists of the 20th and 21st centuries like Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, Frank Stella, and others, working as the fabricator of their art concepts. An upcoming event by Stair will showcase items from the Polish Tallix Fine Art Foundry. Works from this collection highlight the creative collaboration between the artist and the artisan.

Nancy Graves, Untitled. Image courtesy of Stair.
Nancy Graves, Untitled. Image courtesy of Stair.

Leading the catalog is an untitled work by American sculptor and painter Nancy Graves. It is a bronze sculpture, enameled in different colors, predominantly red at the two ends. It has an estimate of USD 3,000 to $5,000. A multi-disciplinary artist and the first woman to receive a solo retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1969, Graves started exploring cast materials under the guidance of Dick Polich in the mid-1970s.  

An art foundry like the Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry would typically offer services like enlargement, mold-making, casting, metal finishing, fabrication, restoration, and patina to turn ideas and paintings into metal, steel, bronze, or sand fabrications.

Harry Jackson, The Marshall, 1979. Image courtesy of Stair.
Harry Jackson, The Marshall, 1979. Image courtesy of Stair.

Three patinated bronze sculptures by Harry Jackson are available in the upcoming auction. Pony Express and two versions of The Marshall were sculptured, signed, and dated at the Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry. The Marshall depicts a cowboy riding a horse with one arm raised in the air, holding a gun. One available casting was likely a working maquette for the final production. A note comes with the figure. It details points of improvement: “The hat is too big on this original” and “scarf wrong/use wax room original.” The lot has an estimate of $1,500 to $2,500. 

Also featured in the catalog are Charles Owen Perry sculpture pairs (estimate: $800 – $1,200 each), Toni Putnam’s Winter (estimate: $400 – $600), Richard Pettibone’s Brancusi (estimate: $1,000 – $1,500) and Carl Paul Jennewein’s Dolphin and Waves (estimate: $1,000 – $1,500). 

The upcoming Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry auction from Stair will take place on March 2, 2022 at 11:00 AM EST. To view the full catalog or to place a bid, visit LiveAuctioneers.

Looking for more art world news? We recently outlined Christie’s 20th/21st Century Art sale series, scheduled for early March of 2022.

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