Jean Tinguely

Jean Tinguely Meta-Matic Machine Drawing Hand Signed, 1959



Watercolor on Paper


Hand-signed drawing done by a machine designed by Jean Tinguely. At the top of the paper in german reads, "Original Drawing Executed in Collaboration with Meta-Matic." At the bottom of the page is the artist's signature in red. The piece comes with two coins used to operate the machine.

Artist Biography

The Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely was born in Fribourg on 22 May 1925. After going to school in Basle, he began an apprenticeship as a shop-window decorator in a department store in 1940. He then studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basle from 1941 to 1945, a period during which he discovered the art of Schwitters and Klee as well as becoming an enthusiastic fan of the Bauhaus*. Tinguely began experimenting with kinetics*, movement in space in 1944 with his machine-like sculptures by equipping them with electric motors and making them spin around at high speed. He moved to Paris in 1951, where he participated in Robert Rauschenberg's international happenings and associated with the casual artist group Nouveaux Réalistes*, exhibiting works in their exhibitions. He had his first one-man exhibition three years later, in 1954, at the Galerie Arnaux. Tinguely's fantasy machines with pre-programmed elements of chance, the so-called "Métamatics", are quite spectacular. They are machines producing drawings, or self-destructive machines. His welded iron constructions represent ironic attacks on the purpose of the era of technology. Jean Tinguely exhibited works at the Biennale in Paris in 1959 and associated himself with the group "ZERO". The artist's international fame came around the mid-1960s, if not earlier. He showed works at the "documenta" 3, 4 and 6 in Kassel between 1964 and 1977. Tinguely married the artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, a close friend of his, in 1961. Together, they installed the climbable female sculpture Hon at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 1966. In the same year he participated in the exhibition "The Machine" at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. One year later he was present at the World Exhibition in Montreal. His "Machines" were once again shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1968 in the exhibition "Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage".


H 12.5 in. x W 10.5 in. x D 1 in.

Dimensions without Frame

H 11.5 in x W 8.5 in.
Jean Tinguely Meta-Matic Machine Drawing Hand Signed, 1959