Monday, January 25, 2010

DaVinci's Last Supper - automaton by Phalibois

DaVinci's
Shown here is a rare automaton by the famous maker Phalibois representing Davinci's painting The Last Supper. It is a large scene-style automaton measuring about four feet in length. It could be the only one of its kind in the world.

The Last Supper automaton will be going to auction along with one of Pierrot Serenading the Moon by Vichy, and another large scale scene of a ship rocking on the ocean in front of a rotating backdrop of a city shoreline in Europe.

These three automata were featured in a traveling exhibition that toured Europe, Australia and New Zealand in the early 1920s, under the name of The London Mechanical and Electrical exhibition.

The auction is to be held on 25th February 2010 in New Zealand by Art+Objects under the name "The Newman Collection".


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death+Resurrection: In the Chamber of Reflection

Marvel at Thomas Kuntz's self-portrait based on a classic automata motif: the severed and restored head. The entire piece -- including the cams, levers, and actuating devices -- were hand-cut from brass, steel, and wood.

From the video description
This automaton, a nightmarish vision, was inspired in part by the 19th century Phalibois clown automaton. The first version was sold to a private collector and then this 23" tall automaton was made from a completely new set of sculptures with some added features and a completely new mechanical design. It is an auto-biographical self-portrait told through occult allegory and runs for one minute to complete the cycle.

See more amazing art by Thomas Kuntz on his web site.


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Monday, August 25, 2008

Thomas Kuntz Incredible Decapitation Automaton

This eerie, life-like automaton by (and of) automaton artist Thomas Kuntz does a version of the classic decapitation trick. This is mastery of a craft -- or actually, several.

From the YouTube description:
This automaton, a nightmarish vision was inspired in part by the 19th century Phalibois clown automaton. The first version was sold to a private collector and then this 23" tall automaton was made from a completely new set of sculptures with some added features and a completely new mechanical design. It is an auto-biographical self-portrait told through occult allegory and runs for one minute to complete the cycle. A mechanical musical "dirge" is built into the machine (but not heard on this clip). The entire figure including the cams, levers, and actuating devices below the figure were made from scratch hand-cut from brass steel and wood.


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Monday, August 18, 2008

Henry Phalibois Automaton of a Laughing Clown

Henry Phalibois Automaton of a Laughing Clown
This Laughing Clown automaton by Phalibois is going to auction on August 23rd, 2008 by Skinner Auctioneers.

The clown's mechanism contains a going-barrel movement with four boxwood cams and single-air cylinder movement that cause the figure to look from side to side, wink his eyes, slap his sides with his his hands, and shrugging his shoulders rapidly, so that his whole body seems to be shaking with laughter.

Here is the full eBay listing for the Henry Phalibois Automaton of a Laughing Clown.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Chinese Magician Automaton - Auction

This is one of the many automata that will be auctioned by Skinner Auctioneers in Bolton, Massachusetts on October 28th, 2007.

Nick Hawkins -- Skinner's resident music box/scientific instrument/automata expert -- was kind enough to give me a live demonstration of this piece.

It is quite large and the sequence surprisingly long. Overall, one of the most remarkable pieces I have ever seen.

Visit Skinner's site to learn more about the upcoming Science & Technology Auction and the preview dates.

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