Osborne Samuel have supported Art Miami since it started over 30 years ago. Sadly as you know this year Art Miami has been cancelled. Although an online version of the art fair will be brought to you by www.artsy.com we decided to share with you directly the range of sculptures, paintings and prints which we would have brought to the show. So we have created an interactive catalogue for you to browse through. It isn’t the same but even so we hope you will enjoy taking a look. CLICK HERE
Standing Group No 2 (Large Version), 1952
103.5 x 47.3 x 38.1 cm.
Marlborough Fine Art, London, 1969 (directly from the artist whom they represented)
Marlborough Fine Art, New York
Arte Contacto, Caracas, 1975 (purchased from the above)
Private Collection, Florida (purchased from the above)
Osborne Samuel, London
Roland Penrose, Kenneth Armitage (Amriswil: Bodensee-Verlag, 1960), ill. plate 7 (with incorrect dimensions).
‘Kenneth Armitage’, exhibition catalogue (Arts Council touring exhibition, 1972-3), essay by Alan Bowness (unpaginated), ill.
Charles Spencer, Kenneth Armitage, Alecto Monographs 1 (London: Academy Editions, 1973), ill. p. 6
Tamsyn Woollcombe (ed.), Kenneth Armitage: Life and Work (Much Hadham/London: The Henry Moore Foundation, in association with Lund Humphries, 1997), KA 28, ill. p. 35.
James Scott and Claudia Milburn, The Sculpture of Kenneth Armitage (London: Lund Humphries, 2016), ill. p. 94, no. 22.
‘Sculpture by Kenneth Armitage, Pottery by James Tower, Pen and Ink Drawings by “Scottie” Wilson’, Gimpel Fils (December 1952), cat. no. 37 [exhibited in plaster].
‘The New decade: 22 European painters and sculptors’, touring exhibition: Museum of Modern Art, New York (10 May – 17 August 1955), Minneapolis Institute of Arts (21 September – 30 October 1955), Los Angeles County Museum (21 November 1955 – 7 January 1956), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2 February – 15 March 1956); catalogue edited by Andrew Carnduff Ritchie, with statements by the artists, ill. p. 58.
‘Kenneth Armitage: sculpture & drawings; S W Hayter: paintings & engravings; William Scott: paintings’, the British Pavilion at the XXIX Venice Biennale 1958, organised by the British Council (14 June – 19 October 1958), essay by Herbert Read, cat. no. 5.
‘Kenneth Armitage, S W Hayter, William Scott’, exhibition organised by the British Council, tour of the Venice Biennale Exhibition, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (22 November – 21 December 1958), essay by Herbert Read (text in French), cat. no. 5.
‘Kenneth Armitage, S W Hayter, William Scott’, exhibition organised by the British Council, tour of the Venice Biennale Exhibition, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (7-29 March 1959), essay by Herbert Read (text in French), cat. no. 5 [Collection: Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York].
‘Sculptuur en tekeningen van Kenneth Armitage en schilderijien van William Scott’, exhibition organised by the British Council, based on the Venice Biennale Exhibition, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam (3-30 June 1959), essay by Herbert Read (text in Dutch), cat. no. 5.
‘Stanley W. Hayter: Gemälde und Graphiken; William Scott: Gemälde; Kenneth Armitage: Skulpturen und Zeichnungen’, exhibition organised by the British Council, tour of the Venice Biennale Exhibition, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne (10 January – 8 February 1959), essay by Herbert Read (text in German), cat. no. 5.
‘Stanley W. Hayter: Gemälde und Graphiken; William Scott: Gemälde; Kenneth Armitage: Skulpturen und Zeichnungen’, exhibition organised by the British Council, tour of the Venice Biennale Exhibition, Kunsthaus, Zürich (April-May 1959), cat. no. 5.
‘Kenneth Armitage: a retrospective exhibition of sculpture and drawing, based on the XXIX Venice Biennale of 1958’, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (July-August 1959), essay by Alan Bowness, cat. no. 10, plate VII [Collection: Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York].
The estate archives and artist’s notebooks do not record the exact edition size. At this time in the artist’s career, when working on a bronze of this scale, the edition size was usually limited to 6.
In 1954 Ida Kar photographed Kenneth Armitage, sitting in a spartan, whitewashed room. Sculpture surrounds him, on the bare floorboards, on a makeshift plinth and on the mantlepiece, cheek by jowl with a lamp made from a wine bottle. Some sculptures are still in plaster, and the majority are groups: vertical constructions, arms horizontally out-thrust.
Armitage later identified one specific origin for these forms. He had rented a hut in Corsham as a studio, where he could work without interruption from the students he was teaching. The owner, a Miss Spackman, had left a pile of furniture at one end, which Armitage concealed using folding screens on short narrow legs, to which he tacked corrugated cardboard. He recalled,
Although they were there I never thought about them, but I actually started making real screens. As a result of having looked at aircraft with their wings, the screens appeared as if they were almost flying. The screen has fascinated me all my life, because the folded screen is a shape that is extremely stable, but as it is made of membranes it has very little mass. It is a very light structure. ₁
In Kar’s photograph, one of Armitage’s earliest group sculptures, Linked Figures (large version) (1949/51), can be seen placed on the floor. The two figures have an arm and a leg apiece, while they share two further limbs, creating a composite, conjoined composition. From this date onwards, Armitage’s vision of the sculptural ‘ensemble’ evolved rapidly. His four bronzes at the Venice Biennale in 1952 were all groups: figures going for a walk, windblown, or simply standing. By 1955, in the British Council’s touring exhibition to the United States and Canada, ‘Young British Sculptors’, these groups were both familiar and keenly sought after. Children by the Sea (1953), for instance, sold four casts, outstripping the bounds of its intended edition.
Each sculpted group presented a new configuration of interlocking elements, as Armitage explained:
I found in time I wanted to merge them so completely they formed a new organic unit – a simple mass of whatever shape I liked containing only that number of heads, limbs or other detail I felt necessary. So in a crowd we see only the face or hand that catches our eye, for we don’t see mathematically but only what is most conspicuous or important or familiar. ₂
Standing Group 2 (large version) is among the most geometrical examples. Like its predecessor, Standing Group 1, it resembles a screen, but rather than being open, it folds in on itself. The figures form a knot, legs on the outside, arms protruding at different heights. The sculpture’s taut composition may be traced to Armitage’s fascination with architecture and the placement of objects, awakened by the dramatic sight of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Armitage explored the theme in a statement from 1955:
The human range of vision is concerned with the baroque textural configuration with which the Earth’s form is camouflaged. Gravity stiffens this world we can touch and see with verticals and horizontals— the movement of water, railways and even roads … We walk vertically and rest horizontally, and it is not easy to forget North, South, East, West and up and down. ₃
Standing Group 2 (large version) was first exhibited in plaster at Gimpel Fils in December 1952. ₄ In 1954 it was cast in bronze, almost certainly as a unique piece, and shipped to New York, possibly in connection with Armitage’s first solo exhibition at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery. Armitage’s records are patchy, yet the sculpture’s subsequent movements can be traced through exhibition catalogues. In March 1955 it was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as part of a prestigious initiative, ‘The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors’, which toured the United States. It was sent from the Bertha Schaefer Gallery to the 1958 Venice Biennale, after which it toured almost constantly until 1959, as part of the British Council’s travelling version of the Biennale – taking in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland before reaching the UK. Thus, Standing Group 2, undoubtedly one of Armitage’s most significant sculptures of the 1950s, ranks also among its most visible and fiercely promoted.
₁ Tamsyn Woollcombe (ed.), Kenneth Armitage: Life and Work (Much Hadham/London: The Henry Moore Foundation, in association with Lund Humphries, 1997), p. 30.
₂ Kenneth Armitage, in Peter Selz, New Images of Man (New York: MOMA, 1959), p. 23.
₃ Kenneth Armitage, in The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors, catalogue edited by Andrew Carnduff Ritchie, with statements by the artists (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1955), p. 59.
₄ ‘Sculpture by Kenneth Armitage, Pottery by James Tower, Pen and Ink Drawings by “Scottie” Wilson’, Gimpel Fils (December 1952), cat. 37. For most of Armitage’s sculptures, the catalogue indicated prices for both plaster and bronze.
Mother and Child: Round Form, 1980
19.7 x 11 x 13.6 cm.
Signed and numbered from the edition on the back edge of the bronze base
Edition of 9
Private Collection, New York (acquired directly from the artist)
Private Collection, New York (and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 13, 1996, lot 314)
Private Collection, London (acquired at the above sale)
Jeanne Frank Gallery, New York
Private Collection (Acquired from the above on March 17, 1997)
Private Collection, London
Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, 1980-1986, vol. 6, London, 1988, p. 51, no. 789, illustration of another cast pl. 38
Dimensions include the artist’s bronze base
A cast from the edition is owned by the The Yale Center for British Art, USA
Reviewing Moore’s eightieth-birthday exhibition at Fischer Fine Art, which juxtaposed recent sculptures with those from the 1920s and ’30s, John Glaves-Smith drew attention to the persistence of the rounded female figures. Even in the interwar period, when women – deprived of calories, then taking up tennis and hockey – strove for the boyishly svelte silhouette of the ‘flapper’, Moore’s figures remained ample, replete with curves. ₁ The most salient exception would be his post-war Mother and Child (1953), a tense pairing in which the child appears to peck, ravenously, at its mother’s breast. In this composition, the mother strains away from the child, her waist attenuated, her head serrated in defence.
Mother and Child Round Form (1980) demonstrates the persistence of Moore’s monumental vision. The female figure is non-sexualised, seeming to exist only in relation to the child, whom she regards intently. The composition centres on the child, its mother arguably providing little more than a context: a support. To this end, the female figure is largely devoid of non-essential detail. There is the merest indication of breasts, and hands to clasp. Legs, lacking purpose, are truncated, while weight sediments towards the cushion of the mother’s lap. The effect is far from stolid, however. As almost invariably with the subject of mother and child, Moore imbues the composition with timelessness and universality.
₁ John Glaves-Smith, ‘Exhibitions: Henry Moore’, Art Monthly (September 1978), p. 19.
Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No. 1, 1960
12.5 x 24.2 x 10.5 cm.
Signed and numbered from the edition on top of the base. Stamped with the foundry mark 'H. NOACK BERLIN' (on the side of the base)
Edition of 12
Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, Maryland
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1955-1964, Vol. 3, London, 2005, no. 473, p. 46 (another cast illustrated p. 47).
A cast from the edition is owned by MOMA, USA and The Kröller Müller, The Netherlands.
“I did the first sculpture in two pieces almost without intending to. But after I’d done it, then the second one became a conscious idea. I realised what an advantage a separated two-piece composition could have in relating figures to landscape.
[Moore] walked over to Reclining Figure No. II, put his hands on the knees and the breasts. ‘Knees and breasts are mountains,’ he said. ‘Once these two parts become separated, you don’t expect it to be a naturalistic figure; therefore, you can more justifiably make it like a landscape or a rock.’ ₁
Moore apparently separated the reclining figure almost without intention. Once done, however, he realised the potential of the act. Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 1 (1959), enlarged from a maquette not dissimilar to the one illustrated here, was sited by William Keswick on his estate at Glenkiln in Scotland, where it could be seen isolated on the horizon. None of the sculptures Keswick positioned was visible from the house, or from one another. As Moore commented, ‘They are far apart. Not in sight of each other. Half a mile apart – or more. They possess their environment.’ ²
The landscape of rock and moor is a plausible location, too, for Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No. 1 (1960). Presented as two discrete sections, it suggests a boulder split into parts related by form and texture. Both are square yet irregular, geometric yet organic: deep vertical grooves recur in each, recalling a fault in the rock. Whether the piece is imagined as abstract or as a figure – much as rocks in the landscape accrue the names of people or objects from their distinctive shapes – is in the viewer’s eye.
₁ Carlton Lake, ‘Henry Moore’s World’, Atlantic Monthly (January 1962), p. 44; quoted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations (Aldershot: Lund Humphries, 2002), p. 288.
² Moore, interviewed in Art and Artists (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1956), p. 104–7; quoted in Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, p. 282.
Mother and Child: Circular Base, 1980
13.3 x 11.5 x 11.5 cm.
Signed and numbered from the edition at back of bronze
Edition of 9
The Artist, May 1981, from whom acquired by
Private Collection, New Zealand
Private Collection, U.K.
With Berkeley Square Gallery, London, 2003, where purchased by
Private Collection, U.K. by whom gifted to the present owner
Private Collection, U.K.
Osborne Samuel, London (Formerly Berkeley Square Gallery)
Alan Bowness, Henry Moore: Volume 6, Complete Sculpture, 1980-86, London, 1999, p.37, cat.no.790 (ill.b&w., another cast)
Rome, Vigna Antoniana, Henry Moore, 1981
Ravenna, Moore, Sculture, disegni e grafica, 1986 no.13 (illustrated)
Height excludes base.
A cast is owned by the Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, UK
Ten Studies for Family Group, 1949-50
Pencil, ink and gouache on paper
29.2 x 24.2 cm.
Signed and dated 'Moore 49' recto and signed and dated verso 'Moore 50.'
Fischer Fine Art, London
A,Garrould, Henry Moore, Complete Drawings 1940-1949, Vol.3, Much Hadham, 2001, p. 276, no. AG 47-49.79; HMF 2468
D. Mitchinson, Henry Moore: Prints and Portfolios, Geneva 2010
Verso: ‘Study for Family Group’
Coloured crayon, wax crayon, watercolour wash
The sketch on verso is used in the 1949 collograph CGM 5
A group of a dozen or more maquettes owes its origin to an unrealised commission for Impington Village College, in Cambridgeshire. When the educationalist Henry Morris approached Moore, in the 1930s, it was with an inspirational vision to create a centre for the surrounding villages, designed by the architect Walter Gropius, to integrate art, music, lectures, plays and films into everyday life. Moore instantly lighted upon the subject of the family, as most appropriate. Although funds proved insufficient to fulfil the project at the time, the idea took root. In 1944, Morris again contacted Moore, who began to make sketches, then maquettes of family groups. Some were intended to be enlarged as bronze sculptures, but most were envisaged as stone carvings, Moore’s preferred medium for Impington. After nine months’ work, however, the project foundered, partly through lack of money, and partly due to the Education Authority’s lack of enthusiasm for Moore’s maquettes. Some years later, the ideas were developed as two significant commissions: Family Group (1948-9), in bronze for Barclay School in Stevenage, and Family Group (1954-5), in stone for Harlow New Town.1
Contemplating the Impington commission, Moore filled two sketchbooks with family groups. The compositions varied between one- and two-children families, with the children (of different ages) seated or standing. Some are more abstract than others, some figures contain holes, others have vestigial or split heads. The female figure is often swathed in a shawl or dress, and sometimes a blanket is draped, tenderly, over both figures’ knees. Moore regarded these sketches not only as generating ideas for sculpture but as a means of clarifying the subject in his mind: with a battery of possibilities before him, he could choose which to refine and take forward. In conversation with David Sylvester, Moore later identified the family group as his last significant subject to be developed through this process of drawing. 2
1 See Moore, in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations (Aldershot: Lund Humphries, 2002), p. 89, 273-5.
2 Henry Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’ (7 June 1963), BBC Third Programme. See also Alice Correia, ‘Maquette for Family Group 1945 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, Tate Research Publications (2014)
Oil and wax on linen
120 x 200 cm.
Signed and titled verso
£18,000 (exclusive of taxes)
“Edging West” an exhibition of new paintings and ceramics at Osborne Samuel Gallery 28 November to 20 December 2019
Whilst photographs may initially inspire paintings, it is important to me that they move beyond a simple reproduction of their subject matter. The photographs are triggers only, decisions in painting and moving them beyond the figurative only and consequently the tease of abstraction is very important. They are after all paintings. The materiality of the process, its bleed, drag, smudge, layer, thick, thin, gesture, rhythm, movement, shimmer, microcosm, macrocosm are all so important in presenting a painting which you need to sense as well as see. Titles are so important and they always come after the painting is finished. These words must present the viewer with an almost onomatopoeic, synaesthetic emotional connection.
‘Quench’ is inspired by the deep yellow lichen growth on the coastal paths and cliffs. It is a joyous celebratory colour, there is a deep rhythm and sense of movement in the way that lichen grows, clinging to the rocks and surviving in such extreme weather. The analogy and symbolism is also important here, but more so is the deep beauty in something so small presented large. We the viewer, are made small in comparison in order to explore this world visually.
First Stairs, 1991
49.5 x 24.8 x 24.9 cm.
Stamped with the artist's monogram, reference number C111 and numbered at the base of the stairs
Edition of 9
Private Collection, USA
D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor: with a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2003, Farnham, 2014, pp. 406, no. C111, another cast illustrated.
Caracas, Galeria Freites, January – February 1993
‘I thought I’d contrast the movement of legs going up and down stairs, so you get the legs, the knees bending one way, then the other way … I was really thinking, ‘How else can I do these curious figures of mine? How can I do them? What shall I do with them? … How can I use the human body? What can I do with it?’₁
Chadwick’s comments regarding the ‘stair’ series both reveal and deflect. They address his persistent motivation to push the figure in new directions, yet spread a pall over any specific spur for the imagery. He had begun in 1990 to make what would become one of the last tributaries to his welter of late, mainly female, figures. Taking the prop of the stairs – solid, open-tread or spiral – he examined the particular movement of a figure ascending or descending. Knees bend, muscles tense, sometimes the torso inclines forward and the buttocks appear to sway. The motion can be more or less elegant, accordingly. Each figure’s clothing, whether a sophisticated above-the-knee shift dress, or one that appears too tight for comfort, frames and modifies its bearing.
In First Stairs (1991), Chadwick presents a pair of figures moving in opposing directions. They are not doubles, but they create an effect of mirroring, brushing shoulder to shoulder. Perhaps adolescent, they appear long-backed, slender, demure; inexplicably charged with silence.
₁ Lynn Chadwick, Artists’ Lives, quoted in Michael Bird, Lynn Chadwick (Farnam: Lund Humphries, 2014), p. 169.
Maquette V Two Winged Figures, 1973
48.2 x 44 x 23 cm.
Stamped with artist's monogram, 'CHADWICK', reference number 672, dated and numbered from the edition
Edition of 6
André Simoens Knokke
Lex Daniels, Amsterdam
Bought from Simoens early 80s
Dennis Farr & Éva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick, Sculptor, Lund Humphries, Farnham, 2014, p.297, cat.no.672
The winged figure, often presented as a pair, threads through Chadwick’s sculpture from the mid-1950s onwards. Early examples often danced in duet, their wings splayed in courtship ritual. In 1962, Chadwick transformed the idea completely, starkly abstracting its form to resemble aeroplane wings: Two Winged Figures, constructed from plate steel at an industrial works in Italy, and painted bright yellow and black, towered above the viewer.
If there was always a dialogue between the human and the machine, by the early 1970s Chadwick’s imagery had settled in favour of the former. Maquette V Two Winged Figures (1973) is, on balance, more human than otherwise. The wings, folded downwards, resemble robes. The female figure is clearly identifiable as such, broad-hipped and round-breasted, while the square shoulders of the male figure determine the geometric fall of his tunic and wings. But the head? So often in Chadwick’s sculpture this is where ambiguity concentrates. Heads resemble beaks, science-fiction jaws, insectoid mandibles, square television monitors. Sometimes they are reduced almost to invisibility, seeding doubt as to their sentience. In Maquette V Two Winged Figures, characteristically, Chadwick uses a cube and pyramid to denote difference. Proportionally in relation to each figure’s torso, and borne erect, they give cause for reassurance – yet the frisson of alterity persists.
Sitting Figures in Robes I, 1980
28 x 50 x 30.5 cm.
Stamped with the artist's monogram, the reference number `787s' and numbered from the edition
Edition of 9
Galeria Freites, Caracas
Private Collection, (purchased from the above 1988)
Osborne Samuel, London
D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick: Sculptor, with a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2003, Farnham, 2014, p.341, no. 787S
Chadwick first explored the subject of the seated figure in the early 1970s. Sculptural mass was paramount in these expositions, with paired figures almost conjoined, legs suggested minimally, and heads oblong or triangular. While Chadwick’s convention for the head – oblong for male, triangular for female – persisted, other aspects would be rebalanced. Firstly, the squatness of the figures diminished. As they became more erect, elegantly poised in relation to one another, the treatment of drapery altered. Some sculptures were also editioned with brightly polished heads, lending a different quality altogether.
Chadwick was a keen observer of human form, noticing instantly its particular bearing or attitude. In Sitting Figures in Robes I (1980) the couple appears slightly distanced, the female perhaps tense, shifting weight from one leg to the other, the male more stolidly at ease. It is a scenario that may be unpicked at leisure, as light emphasises and diminishes different aspects of the composition. Chadwick’s treatment of the couple’s robes modulates our perception of their relative forms. Where the female’s robes flatter, by clinging to narrow shoulders and spreading, fish-tailed, to one side, the male’s drop squarely, with minimal fuss. Chadwick models with consummate skill, such that bronze appears to curve and drape with the fluidity of lead.
Watcher VI, 1961
95 x 35 x 30 cm.
Signed, dated and numbered. Stamped with the Burleighfield foundry mark.
Edition of 8
Private Collection, Europe
Dennis Farr and Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick, Sculptor, with a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2005, Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2006, cat. no.349, illustrated p.180(another cast)
Michael Bird, Lynn Chadwick, London, 2014, no. 5-16, illustration of another cast p. 122
Marlborough Fine Art, London, Nov-Dec, 1961
Minimum footprint of legs at base 28.5 x 25 cm (11 1/4 x 10 in)
A study for the ‘Watcher’ series of 1961, executed in ink and watercolour on paper, is held in the collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Other ‘Watcher’ sculptures in public collections, include the Berman Museum, Pennsylvania, the Sprengel Museum, Hanover and the San Diego Museum of Art.
In 1959 Chadwick began working on an iconic series of sculptures: ‘The Watchers’. These mysterious creatures stand in majestic isolation, even when they appear in triads. All marks of the individual have been removed from the figure, to create an image that is neither human nor animal, neither male nor female. Writing about The Watchers, Herbert Read dubbed Chadwick’s unique aesthetic as “the new image of man”.
Lynn Chadwick was interviewed by Cathy Courtney for the British Sound Archive and she asked specifically about ‘the Watchers.’
Chadwick answered, ‘it is my way of saying the same thing as the Easter Island figures are saying…. They’re not in any way, representative of anything. They are just shapes….. You see, the Easter Island things …. have this great intensity of … message, as it were and I wanted to do the same thing….. All I was aware of was that they ….satisfied me that I had done what I wanted to do, I wasn’t trying to do anything specific but it was just this way of having this intense feeling.’1
In 1959, Chadwick began a series of over forty sculptures titled Watcher. The earliest maquette angled its block-shaped head inquisitively, its torso curved in a gentle, questioning arch. More characteristically, the Watchers would appear erect and level headed, their gaze directed resolutely ahead.
Watcher VI (1961) was conceived in the same year that Chadwick began work on the group of three monumental Watchers, a cast of which was sited in Roehampton, overlooking the modernist architecture of the Alton Estate, by the London County Council in 1963. Like them, it inhabits a rectangular profile, upright and self-contained. Yet within this simplicity of profile there is abundant detail, subtly reinforcing the stance: no plane is left unconsidered. The head bears traces of horizontal seams, layered as a dry-stone wall. The torso is articulated with diamond facets. This particular Watcher twists its head, slightly: a receptor stilled in observation.
1.Michael Bird, Lynn Chadwick, London, 2014, p.112
Bronze, oil paint
38 x 24 x 22 cm.
Edition of 9
£15,000 (exclusive of taxes)
Waiting for the Sun: Sean Henry, published by Osborne Samuel, November 2020, illustrated p. 42-43
‘Waiting for the Sun: Sean Henry’, Osborne Samuel, London, November – December 2020
Head Study (TC)
Chalk and charcoal on paper
84 x 59 cm.
£4,000 (exclusive of taxes)
Waiting for the Sun: Sean Henry, published by Osborne Samuel, November 2020, illustrated p. 40-41
‘Waiting for the Sun: Sean Henry’, Osborne Samuel, November – December 2020
Yellow Autumn from a Terrace, 1948
Oil on canvas
52.1 x 107.2 cm.
Signed 'Hitchens' (lower right); further signed and inscribed 'IVON HITCHENS/Greenleaves Lavington Common/Petworth Sussex/Yellow Autumn/from a Terrace' (on a label attached to the stretcher)
The Leicester Galleries, London, 2 February 1962
Private Collection, U.K.
Osborne Samuel, London
Woodland became a key feature of Hitchens’ paintings from the early 1940s onwards, following the family’s move to Lavington Common, Sussex, after his studio in Belsize Park was badly damaged by a bomb. This was a turning point for the artist, having escaped London to the seclusion and tranquillity of the countryside and surrounded by nature, his work took on a fresh spontaneity that is particularly evident in this painting.
Peter Khoroche noted:
“About Yellow Autumn from a Terrace -there is a note in IH’s Despatch Book, under Summer 1949, to the effect that certain pictures from the Leicester Galleries were transferred to the Leger Galleries at this time. Among these was Yellow Autumn from a Terrace. So we can be sure that it was painted before Summer 1949. I think ‘ca.1948’ would be a reasonable guess as to when it was painted.”
Taking a horizontal canvas, often propped low in front of him, Hitchens worked in the open air from landscapes hemmed close by foliage, bracken and the dank mass of water. He had moved to Greenleaves, six acres of woodland in Lavington, Sussex, following the bombing of his London studio. Never finding a reason to leave, he continued to paint its seasons, finding infinite variety where others might hardly register change.
Hitchens frequently drew analogy with music to describe his approach to painting, referring to the instruments in the ‘ painter’ s orchestra’ , a picture’ s rhythm and harmony, or the notation of tones and colours necessary to its ‘ visual music’ .1 Yet if his canvases are scanned, in the same way as musical scores, the attentive viewer soon notices that Hitchens’ calligraphic strokes are precise rather than bravura , the balancing of tone to unpainted canvas as calculated as that of an experienced orchestrator.
In Yellow Autumn from a Terrace , Hitchens creates a foreground scaffolding of tree trunks, arched brambles, shrubs, the suggested curlicues of ironwork, letting the eye find its own way towards chinks of cerulean-grey. As Christopher Neve wrote,
“…nature seemed to consist to [Hitchens] more of spaces than of objects, and it often appears that he instinctively drew the air and light that vibrates in the interstices of the view rather than the view itself.”2
1. Ivon Hitchens, Statement in Ark (1956), based on notes made a decade earlier.
2. Christopher Neve, ‘ Ivon Hitchens: Music’ , in Unquiet Landscape: Places and Ideas in 20th Century English Painting (Faber, 1990), p. 139.
Sleeper Black, 1997
Etching, Aquatint & Drypoint
97 x 193 cm.
Signed and inscribed `EA', a proof aside from the numbered edition of 50, of which only 20 were printed.
D. Krut, William Kentridge Prints, Johannesburg and Iowa, 2006, no. 68.
“The print marked Act IV, Scene I from the Ubu Suite provides the compositional motif that Kentridge expounds upon in the large Sleepers, a series of 4 prints published in 1997. The artist, Ubu, lies naked on a table suggestive of hospital beds, mortuary slabs, dissecting tables or torture chambers. There is nothing sexual or voyeuristic about this portrayal of the male nude (the artist again) who exists rather as an asexual figure of suffering and resignation, an interesting counterpoint to the tradition of the reclining female nude in western art. South Africa gained its independence under Mandela in 1994, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began its arduous process of confession and healing. Kentridge was working on large-scale charcoal drawings of Ubu at this time and in order to bring a sense of the body abused, damaged and humiliated into the drawings (in accordance with the histories revealing themselves on the radio every morning in the TRC broadcasts), he rode over the paper on a bicycle, flagellated the paper with a charcoal-impregnated silk rope and invited, “children and cats” to trample upon and desecrate the image. To carry these marks onto a plate through printmaking, Kentridge used a range of materials and objects and pressed them into a soft ground painted onto the giant Sleeper plates, leaving footprints, scrapes and scratches.
This extract is taken from Kate McCrickard’s essay, “William Kentridge Prints” which was commissioned by Edinburgh Printmakers to accompany an exhibition of Kentridge’s work, curated by David Krut, that was shown during the Edinburgh Printmakers’ Festival from July to September 2007.
Sleeper – Red, 1997
Etching and aquatint with drypoint printed in black and red, on wove paper
97 x 193 cm.
Signed and inscribed 'PP' in pencil, aside from the edition of 50
Edition of V
107 Workshop, Wiltshire
D. Krut, William Kentridge Prints, Johannesburg and Iowa, 2006, pp. 66, 68-69.
In 1996 Kentridge embarked on a series of etchings to coincide with the centenary of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi. In Ubu tells the Truth Kentridge transposed Jarry’s spiral-bellied comic anti-hero with the figure of a naked man based on photographs of Kentridge performing the part of Ubu in his studio. The series was the basis for a theatre production written and directed by the artist, Ubu & the Truth Commission (1997), which in turn was the genesis of The Sleeper prints.
‘I had worked on a series of messy drawings of a naked man, sometimes enclosed by the white Ubu line drawing, trying to get some feel of the theatre production in them. With the first set of drypoints I had used a thumbprint and printed the heel of my hand to suggest the flesh texture. With the large drawings one has to pull shape and texture into the drawing on a larger scale. I wheeled a bicycle across the paper, hit it with charcoal-impregnated silk rope, invited children and cats to walk over it, spattered it freely with pigment. The Sleeper prints used a range of materials and objects placed on soft ground to try to effect the same damage upon the paper’ (William Kentridge, in: William Kentridge Prints, David Krut Publishing, Johannesburg and New York, 2006, p. 66)
Leaf Venus 2, 1986
Bronze on York stone base
132 x 41 x 20.5 cm.
Signed with monogram, stamped with foundry mark, dated and numbered from the edition of 4
Edition of 4
Waddington Galleries, London
Ann Kendall Richards, New York, June 2000
Private Collection, USA
Osborne Samuel, London
Exhibition catalogue, William Turnbull: Sculptures 1946-62, 1985-87, London, Waddington Galleries, 1987, p. 53, no. 20, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, William Turnbull Neue Skulpturen, Berlin, Galerie Michael Haas, 1992, no. 5, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, William Turnbull: Sculpture and Paintings, London, Serpentine Gallery, 1995, p. 65, pl. 45, another cast illustrated.
A.A. Davidson, The Sculpture of William Turnbull, Much Hadham, 2005, pp. 51-52, 68, 168, no. 240, another cast illustrated.
London, Waddington Galleries, William Turnbull: Sculptures 1946-62, 1985-87, October – November 1987, no. 20, p.53
Annely Juda Fine Art, From Picasso to Abstraction, June – September 1989
Berlin, Galerie Michael Haas, William Turnbull Neue Skulpturen, October – November 1992, no. 5
London, Serpentine Gallery, William Turnbull: Bronze Idols and Untitled Paintings, Nov. 1995 – Jan.1996, no.45, p.65
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, William Turnbull, October – November, 1998
Encountering Leaf Venus 2, what does it suggest? Leaf, or goddess? Close to human scale, its blade-thin, verdigris form is marked by sparse, discreet indentations.
William Turnbull began to make ‘Idols’ in the mid-1950s: simplified structures whose totality could be grasped in a glance. Their presence was primal, evoking – though not mimicking – works from other civilisations. At the British Museum, Turnbull had studied Cycladic and African sculpture, as well as utilitarian objects, such as spoons, which possessed symbolic significance. His contribution to the radical exhibition ‘This is Tomorrow’, in 1956, was Sun Gazer, a mysterious ovoid on a pedestal. Turnbull amplified his intention in the catalogue:
Sculpture used to look ‘modern’; now we make objects that might have been dug up at any point in the past forty thousand years. Sculpture = totemic object. It can exist inside or outside architectural space.
In 1979, after a gap of seventeen years, Turnbull returned to making ‘Idols’ in bronze, fashioning a series of small masks, figures and torsos. The continuity with earlier work is evident, yet there is also difference. In sculptures from the mid-1980s onwards, such as Leaf Venus 2, sculptural weight and solidity have been replaced by slenderness: an audacious balancing of wafer-thin forms. Considering such works, David Sylvester recalled Turnbull’s question, ‘How little will suggest a head?’, invoking by comparison the artist’s emptied-out canvases of the 1950s, in which brush-strokes activate monochrome surfaces.
Amanda Davidson, in The Sculpture of William Turnbull, links the origin of Leaf Venus 2 to drawings of plants made in Singapore in 1963. 1. Turnbull related it to skateboards used by his sons; a jarring cultural appropriation, but correlating neatly with Leaf Venus’s form, its slim volume and gently curved surfaces. David Sylvester further suggested aircraft wings, which had been a visual constant during Turnbull’s four years as a wartime pilot in the RAF. 2. All are possible, indeed likely.
Sun Gazer (1959), as distinct from the 1956 sculpture of the same title, was sited outside Kingsdale School as part of an initiative by the London County Council’s Architect’s Department ‘to expose children to the most challenging and experimental manifestations of contemporary art’. 3. Sun Gazer relates directly to Leaf Venus 2. Horizontal rather than vertical, it is essentially a slim leaf form, with ridged and gashed surface markings, although the depth and legibility of this scarring is greater.
In Eugene Rosenberg’s photograph of Sun Gazer (1959), a girl in school uniform studies the sculpture. A young teacher looks on, while further pupils can be seen watching from open windows on the upper floor. We can never know what they were thinking, but the placement of the sculpture, against the modernist brick, steel and concrete architecture of Leslie Martin, is undoubtedly daring. Light, and the skilful black-and-white photograph, emphasise the strangeness of Turnbull’s sculpture – a space-age found object.
The challenge, with the smoother-surfaced Leaf Venus 2, is to register its presence through photographs: the sculpture’s surface lines and dots, ciphers across and around its slender mass, may all too easily be easily missed. Such markings subdivide the leaf, providing symmetry (dots in the centre, lines to the perimeter). Yet the effect, as with Sun Gazer, remains equivocal. Leaf Venus 2 is an object both self-sufficient and referential, clearly articulated and numinous.
1.Amanda A. Davidson, The Sculpture of William Turnbull (Aldershot: The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, 2005), p. 52.
2. David Sylvester, ‘Bronze Idols and Untitled Paintings’, in William Turnbull: sculpture and paintings (London: Merrell Holberton Publishers and the Serpentine Gallery, 1995), unpaginated.
3. Richard Cork, in Architect’s Choice: Art and Architecture in Great Britain since 1945 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1992), p. 34, illustrated p. 35.