Los Angeles County Museum of Art purchase Ben Gaskell’s Breakbox with Split Crystal
We are thrilled to announce that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art have purchased Ben Gaskell’s Breakbox with Split Crystal, 2016.
This hand-carved, pocket-sized porphyry box contains an inner cube made from rock crystal and was purchased during Lockdown, thanks to a museum fundraising event hosted on zoom.
This piece, amongst others, joins the collection in honour of the late Peter Loughrey, founder of Los Angeles Modern Auctions and staunch supporter of the Decorative Arts department.
“Extraordinarily durable and extremely difficult to work, highly polished semi-precious hardstones are uniquely suited for creating lasting works of aesthetic brilliance and technical virtuosity. Ben Gaskell—artist, stone carver, and supplier of hardstones (especially of rock crystal, as in this piece)—skilfully amplifies the so-called “imperfections” in his materials to achieve striking visual effects. His Breakbox with Split Crystal is a custom-fit container enclosing a fractured cube. A corner of this box is precisely lopped to highlight an abrupt shift in the porphyry’s coloration and offers a tantalizing glimpse of the crystal within. The lid lifts along an almost imperceptible hairline crack which, when opened, evokes the smashed edges of a plundered tomb. Inside, the crystal dazzles. Gaskell achieved the rock crystal’s light-catching, rippling split by applying immense force at just the right angle. His reverence for the physical qualities of the stones echoes that of the ancient as well as Renaissance hardstone specialists whose works are already in LACMA’s encyclopedic collection.”
Rosie Mills, Museum curator
Breakbox with Split Crystal, 2016
Hand-carved Greek Serpentino porphyry box containing a split rock-crystal cube
H.3.7 W.3.5 D.3.5 cm
H.1 1/2 W.1 3/8 D.1 3/8 in
Purchased by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2020
Gift of the 2020 Decorative Arts and Design Acquisitions Committee (DA²) in memory of Peter Loughrey