The next edition of the Fair returns to Regent’s Park from 12 – 16 October, alongside Frieze Sculpture.
In our selection we have brought together paintings and sculptures by British artists with a connection to Lilian Somerville, Director of the British Council’s Fine Arts Department from 1948 to 1970.
Standing Figure, 1954
80.5 x 19 x 12 cm.
Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York
Artcurial, Paris, 1996
Connaught Brown, London (purchased at the above)
Private Collection, UK (acquired from the above 30 October 1997)
Osborne Samuel, London
Tamsyn Woollcombe (ed.), Kenneth Armitage: Life and Work (Much Hadham/London: The Henry Moore Foundation, in association with Lund Humphries, 1997), KA 50.
James Scott and Claudia Milburn, The Sculpture of Kenneth Armitage (London: Lund Humphries, 2016), ill. p. 103, no. 50.
New York, Bertha Schaefer Gallery, catalogue not traced, another cast exhibited, March / April 1956
‘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. 8.
‘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. 8.
‘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. 8.
‘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. 8.
‘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. 8.
‘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. 8.
‘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. 17.
Estate records an edition of 6
‘Sculpture should express a liking for ordinary unheroic people who are not idealised in any way. People are funny; their bodies and actions having teasing and tantalising forms … obstinate lovable lumps of flesh continually falling short of their aspirations. In this attitude of life I express something beyond my own nature, something more general about the human predicament. I don’ t seek an idealised form of perfection or what is sometimes called grace. Grace makes an object remote and unattainable.’ – Kenneth Armitage
By 1954, Armitage was poised to move into the next stage of his career. He had exhibited with success at the Venice Biennale in 1952, alongside Adams, Butler, Chadwick, Clarke, Meadows, Paolozzi and Turnbull. The following year, he built a foundry at Corsham Court, with Meadows, enabling him to experiment with casting his own work. Armitage’s sculpture was being sold internationally, and in March 1954 the Bertha Schaefer Gallery opened a solo exhibition in New York, where his bronzes were described as ‘impressive’, ‘natural and convincing’.₁
Amid this, and within the increasingly confident evolution of Armitage’s group sculptures, Standing Figure (1954) appears strikingly anomalous. Unlike the composite figures, it has a lightness stemming from the voids created by its arms hanging perpendicular to its shoulders. The figure’s singularity, in fact, endows it with a quiet magnetism. Far larger than the hand-sized Cycladic figurines that may have inspired it, it stands gaunt, head angled quizzically.
Armitage had studied the British Museum’s Egyptian and Cycladic collections as a student, and would retain an interest in the frontality of Egyptian sculpture throughout his life. There is cross-currency, too, with the sculpture of William Turnbull, who was likewise, albeit briefly, a teacher at Corsham. Armitage’s Standing Figure echoes Turnbull’s heads, from the 1950s and later, whose impassive flatness – in common with Cycladic sculpture, as well as Picasso – is relieved only by dots, dashes or wedges. And while the gently incised surfaces of Standing Figure imply antiquity, they also parallel those of ceramic vessels made by James Tower, an artist friend at Corsham, with whom Armitage shared his first exhibition at Gimpel Fils. These are concerns common to sculpture of the decade. What is remarkable, however, is Armitage’s skilful orchestration of their effect, subordinating their impact to his own creative voice.
₁. New York Times review (1954), quoted in James Scott and Claudia Milburn, The Sculpture of Kenneth Armitage (London: Lund Humphries, 2016), p. 40.
Figure in Space, 1956
51 x 24 x 30.5 cm.
Signed with monogram and numbered from the edition of 8 (on left leg); stamped with foundry mark Susse Fondeur Paris (on right leg)
Edition of 8
Private Collection, New York, by 1959
Private Collection, 2003
Grosvenor Gallery, London, 2004
Private Collection, UK
Osborne Samuel London
Colin Ralph, The Colin Collection: Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Sculpture collected by Mr. & Mrs. Ralph F. Colin, New York, 1960
Margaret Garlake, New Art, New World: British Art in Postwar Society, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1998
Margaret Garlake, The sculpture of Reg Butler, Henry Moore Foundation in Association with Lund Humphries, 2006, cat no.176, illustrated Fig 35, p.43
Hanover Gallery, May-June 1957 (Cat 34.)
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, February 1959 (cat, 14)
J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, Oct.-Dec. 1963, Reg Butler, A Retrospective Exhibition, cat 67
Butler was a man with two distinct, yet highly accomplished, careers. As Cottrell, Butler he was an architect with a burgeoning practice, while as Reg he was an essentially untrained avant-garde sculptor, having only worked briefly as an assistant in Henry Moore’s studio in 1947 and tried his hand as a blacksmith during the war, whose idiosyncratic style and experimental approach drew the attention of contemporary artists and critics alike. While exhibiting at both the 1952 and 1954 Venice Biennales he made a significant contribution to Herbert Read’s defining concept of post-war art, the so-called ‘Geometry of Fear’, and was also talent spotted by international gallerists such as Curt Valentin in New York and later Pierre Matisse.
Figure in Space is one of Butler’s finest explorations into the human figure. His architectural background provided him with a sensitive understanding of the relationship between form and space, an understanding which he applied to strong effect through the creation of cage-like structures, such as that visible here, which are very similar to those used by Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon in their work. In this instance the structures surrounding the atrophied human figure provide the sculpture with an extraordinary sense of movement while also referencing the spruing which surround bronzes in the initial stages of the casting process. By drawing our attention to the making process itself Butler draws our attention to the artificiality of the human figure and encourages a detached, Existentialist, standpoint. Butler explained this to Pierre Matisse: ‘to me the so-called base…is a very important part of the total sculpture – it isn’t merely a base but I’m sure does things to the meaning of the whole thing’ (letter to Pierre Matisse, November 1966, quoted in Pierre Matisse and His Artists (exh. cat)., The Pierpoint Morgan Library, New York, 2002, p.128).
Pierre Matisse was quick to sign Reg Butler into his stable of artists after the Curt Valentin Gallery closed in 1955, although Matisse struggled to develop a close working relationship with Erica Brausen who represented Butler in London. In March 1956 he included Butler in an exhibition alongside prestigious and established names such as Le Corbusier, Giacometti, Marino Marini and Joan Miro (among others), but it was not until February 1959 that he was able to stage a solo exhibition. It was not only Butler’s idiosyncratic approach to form which fascinated Matisse and ensured him a place in his prestigious gallery but also the sensuality of his figures which sat very well alongside those of Balthus and Maillol, who were regular features at the gallery.
150 x 42 x 34 cm.
Stamped with the Artist's monogram, stamped with the foundry mark Susse Fondeur Paris and numbered from the edition of 8 (on the base)
Edition of 8
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
Private Collection (acquired from the above)
Private Collection (acquired from the above)
Osborne Samuel, London
Reg Butler: Sculpture and Drawings 1954-1958 (exh. cat), New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, 1959, illustrated no. 17
Reg Butler: A Retrospective Exhibition (exh. cat), Louisville, J. B. Speed Art Museum, 1963, illustrated no.71
Walter Strachan, Open Air Sculpture in Britain: A Comprehensive Guide, Zwemmer Ltd., Tate Publications, London, 1984, no. 444 (as Girl with Arm Raised, another cast)
Penelope Curtis, Sculpture in 20th Century Britain, Vol. II, A Guide To Sculptors In The Leeds Collection, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2003, illustrated p. 31 (another cast)
Margaret Garlake, The Sculpture of Reg Butler, The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2006, no. 178, illustrated p. 150 (another cast)
London, Hanover Gallery, Reg Butler, May – June 1957, no. 37 (another cast)
Nottingham, Castle Museum, Contemporary British Sculpture, 25 May – 15 June 1957, no. 4 (another cast), with Arts Council Tour
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Reg Butler: Sculpture and Drawings 1954-1958, February 1959, no. 17, illustrated in the catalogue (another cast)
London, Hanover Gallery, Reg Butler: Sculpture, 9 June – 8 July 1960, no. 25 (another cast)
Louisville, J.B. Speed Art Museum, Reg Butler: A Retrospective Exhibition, 22 October – 1 December 1963, no. 71 (another cast)
London, Tate, Reg Butler, 16 November 1983 – 15 January 1984, no. 56 (another cast)
Female figures form by far the largest part of Butler’s subject matter in the 1950s, and the image of the figure wrestling with a piece of clothing, a chemise or a vest, is one that captivated his imagination.This figure, Girl, speaks of determination and thrusting energy. The sensual female body is lifted off the ground on a grid, a feature of Butler’s female figures during the decade. The curves rise through the torso to the shoulders and left arm, which are tensely constrained about the figure’s neck by a piece of material. Out of this struggle flies the vertical right arm punctuated by a clenched fist which thrusts towards the heavens. This passage from sensual freedom to constraint to release presents conflicting forces and astounding impact.
The figure’s head is thrown back so that her view follows the strong vertical of her arm. Her face is calm and resolute, and removed from the torment of Butler’s early 1950s sculptures such as The Oracle, 1952 and Circe Head, 1952-3. The image of the figure looking to the sky can be traced back to three figures, the ‘Watchers’, which populate Butler’s maquette of 1951-2, which won the international competition for a Monument to the Unknown Political Prisoner. Butler recalled one source of inspiration for the upward-looking figures to be ‘heads looking up into the sky’ to watch de Havilland test flights at Hatfield (Tate, Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1978-80, p.74, quoted in Margaret Garlake, The Sculpture of Reg Butler, The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2006, p.134).
Butler’s interest in the writings of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein suggests that the dichotomy between the opposing forces of sensuality and brutality in Butler’s representation of female forms noted by John Berger in 1954 would seem to have some grounds. Artistically, comparisons can be drawn with the surrealist treatment of the female figure by artists greatly admired by Butler, such as Hans Bellmer. Perhaps more revealing are connections with two artists of Butler’s own generation, Francis Bacon and Germaine Richier, both of whose work seeks to explore the boundaries at which the human form loses its human qualities. Indeed all three exhibited with the Hanover Gallery in London, and Margaret Garlake suggests that Butler’s viewing of Richier’s 1955 Hanover Gallery exhibition may have led to his re-engagement with the theme the following year.
Study for Sacrificial Figure, 1952
Gilded shell bronze and wire
20 x 23.5 x 15 cm.
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
Offer Waterman, London
Private Collection, UK, Leeds
Osborne Samuel, London
The Sculpture of Reg Butler , Margaret Garlake, published by the Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, 2006, cat, no.110, illustrated in colour Plate 8, p.22
British Surrealism in Context: A Collector’s Eye, published by Jeremy Millings Publishings, 2009 to accompany the exhibition of the same title at Leeds City Art Gallery, 10th July – 1st November , 2009, p.127
Hanover Gallery, London, 1954
Curt Valentin, 1955, Cat no. 15
J B Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, Reg Butler ‘A Retrospective Exhibition , October 22 – December 1, 1963, cat no.49
Museum of Modern Art (Mima), British Surrealism & Other Realities, Middlesborough, 23 May -17 August, 2008
Leeds Art Gallery, British Surrealism in Context: A Collector’s Eye, 10th July – 1st November , 2009,
Hepworth Wakefield, Post-War British Sculpture and Painting, 5 May 2012 – 3 November 2013
Reg Butler’s powerful Study for Sacrificial Figure was conceived concurrently with his prizewinning submission for ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’ competition in 1952. Suggesting an elongated horse’s head, it appears half-flesh, half-skeleton, with sockets for eyes and twisted cage for a muzzle.
Butler created two sculptures titled Study for Sacrificial Figure, both exhibited at his solo Hanover Gallery exhibition in 1954. ₁ Tantalisingly, there is no visual record of the larger unlocated work, yet a context for both can be amplified through chronologically adjacent sculptures. Early maquettes for the ‘Unknown Political Prisoner’ monument (1952) imply confined figures, St Catherine (relief) (1953) consists of a wheel and racked torso, while the subject of Study for Figure Falling (1953) twists convulsively within its frame: all are victims. Through them, we can trace Butler’s interest in Germaine Richier’s sculpture, with its emphasis on the metamorphic, mutilated figure, as well as a close reading of Freud, focusing on notions of the ‘primitive’, the fetish and the sacrificial object.
Between 1951 and 1952 Butler had fluctuated between using iron, to create forged and welded sculpture, and a new technique: shell bronze. The process was laborious, involving creating a model, then a plaster mould, ‘pasting’ on shell bronze using oxyacetylene, then welding the cast sections together. Its principal advantage lay in the ability to replicate detail with great sensitivity, its disadvantage in the time required to patinate the resulting sculpture by gilding. Yet the technique’s liberating potential is instantly apparent. Butler had begun to feel constrained by the dominance of iron, as well as a need, in his sculpture, ‘to establish a greater physical presence, more directly related to the subject’. ₂ In Study for Sacrificial Figure the wax, poured and modelled over an armature, remains visible in the casting as a molten skin: an effect both tactile and shocking in its immediacy.
Butler’s Study for Sacrificial Figure was included in a solo exhibition at New York’s Curt Valentin Gallery in 1955. Reviewing it for The New York Times, Stuart Preston considered Butler to be one of the most vital artists to have emerged in Britain since the war. He identified Marini’s influence, in figures that were ‘strained, almost tormented, in their expressive distortions’, continuing,
They are stripped down to bone and muscle to which skin clings tightly as cerements. Economical and tense, heads thrown back and legs and arms akimbo, they electrify the space about them. ₃
Vital to this ability to animate space was the inclusion of plates, blocks and protruding wires, suggesting the sculptures’ means of construction at the same time as connecting them to the real world. In Study for Sacrificial Figure the result is complex. What might be a found object, relic of an apocalyptic disaster, might equally be a totemic head, accessory to an unspecified ritual.
Modern photographs of this work, taken in profile, have encouraged its identification as an animal’s head. Butler was himself a keen photographer, adept, as Margaret Garlake notes, at ‘exploiting contrasts of tone and lighting to create a minor drama in almost every print’. ₄ From 1949 onwards Butler took considerable care to document his work, also using photography as a tool to gauge the potential scale of a sculpture. Thus it is intriguing that the catalogue for a retrospective at the J. B. Speed Art Museum at Louisville in 1963, which included small-scale images of each of Butler’s sixty-one sculptures, shows Study for Sacrificial Figure photographed from above. ₅ From this vantage the sculpture appears quite different: a tortured figure, quasi-human, with spine arched, arms thrust outwards, and a piteous head. Voids which suggested eye sockets now imply wounds to the torso, and the twisted fuselage beneath the sculpture perhaps indicates a rack, or its tethering to the ground. While the photographer is uncredited (was it Butler, or did he approve the image?), it seems clear that either interpretation is valid, and that this compelling sculpture derives its strength from such ambiguity.
Even as he struggled to articulate his thoughts on Butler’s new work, destined for the Venice Biennale in 1952, Herbert Read had noted as much. The British Pavilion included six sculptures by Butler (three iron, three bronze), identified as single female figures, a couple (girl and boy), and an insect. Tracing their origin to a ‘precise study of the morphology of nature’, Read identified Butler’s mode of transformation as the interchange of species to create ‘convincing hybrids, endowed with vitality and grace’. ₆ Study for Sacrificial Figure, contemporary with this reading, hovers uncannily between categories – between animal, human and object.
1.The Hanover Gallery exhibition catalogue lists Study for Sacrificial Figure (1952), length 11”, cat. 5, and Study for Sacrificial Figure (1952), length 22”, cat. 6. The catalogue entry (no. 110, p. 134) in Margaret Garlake, The Sculpture of Reg Butler (Lund Humphries / The Henry Moore Foundation, 2006), conflates these two sculptures.
2. Reg Butler, ‘The Venus of Lespugue and Other Naked Ladies’, The William Townsend Lecture (11 November 1980), quoted in Reg Butler (London: The Tate Gallery, 1983), p. 89.
3. Stuart Preston, ‘Recent Sculpture and Painting’, The New York Times (16 January 1955).
4. Garlake, The Sculpture of Reg Butler, p. 60.
5. Reg Butler (J. B. Speed Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, 1963), cat. 49. The catalogue includes an essay by the curator, Addison Franklin Page (1911–1999), who visited Butler at his studio in 1960.
6. Herbert Read, ‘New Aspects of British Sculpture’, catalogue essay for the XXVI Biennale, Venice (1952).
Boy & Girl, 1959
70 x 25 x 19 cm.
Signed, the artist's cast aside from the edition of 3 and inscribed with Susse foundry mark
Edition of 3
Lillian Heidenberg Fine Art, New York
Private collection, USA
Osborne Samuel Ltd
Lynn Chadwick – Sculptor – With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2005, Dennis Farr and Éva Chadwick, published by Lund Humphries, London, 2006, 288
Zurich, Galerie Charles Lienhard, Lynn Chadwick, 6th – 31st July 1959, cat. no.10 (another cast)
The leitmotif for Chadwick’s work in the 1950’s was the paired figure. From 1953 onwards, Chadwick developed an array of typologies, whose features he inflected and interchanged. The first manifestation was Conjunction, followed by Two Dancing Figures (or simply Dance), then Encounter, Teddy Boy and Girl , Winged Figures and Boy and Girl. These were never passive meetings, or, for that matter, decorative pas-de-deux. In each instance, an electricity seems to arc between the figures. They circle, momentarily attracted, thrusting arms upwards in ritual dance or courtship. Stephen Spender potently described such pairings as ‘holding up negative and positive poles or prongs through which powerful currents interflow’. ₁
₁ Stephen Spender, catalogue essay for ‘Lynn Chadwick’ (New York: Knoedler Gallery, 1961).
Curved copper shell and steel rods
48 x 48 x 10 cm.
Private Collection, UK (gifted from the above)
Thence by descent
Dennis Farr & Éva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick, Sculptor, With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-1996, Lypiatt Studio, Stroud, 1997,72, cat.no.58
The Artist’s Estate has confirmed the provenance and that this is part of F&C 58, and that Lynn had recorded in his notebook that this section had been gifted.
Teddy Boy and Girl, 1955
190 x 65 x 60 cm.
Signed, inscribed '170,' and stamped with the foundry mark
Edition of 6
Estate of the Artist
Private collection, USA
Robert Melville, Lynn Chadwick, Quadrum, Issue 2, Brussels, November 1956, pp. 98-108
G. S. Whittet, London Commentary, The Studio, Issue 154, October 1957, p. 125
Herbert Read, Lynn Chadwick, Artists of Our Time/Künstler Unserer Zeit, Switzerland, 2nd Edition, 1960, English and German text, no. 22
Josef Paul Hodin, Chadwick, Modern Sculptors, London, 1961, no. 24
W. S. Lieberman & A. H. Barr, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection: Masterpieces of Modern Art, 1981,
Dennis Farr & Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick: Sculptor, Aldershot, 2006, no. 170, p. 110, illustrated p. 111
Venice, XXVIII Biennale, June – October 1956 and tour (another cast)
Kendal, Abbott Hall Art Gallery and Bowness-on-Windermere, Blackwell The Arts and Crafts House, Lynn Chadwick: Evolution in Sculpture, March – June 2013 (another cast)
Among the series of dancing couples Chadwick created, from 1954 onwards, Teddy Boy and Girl proved the most provocative. The very act of plucking a title from popular culture seemed calculated to raise critics’ hackles – a ‘catchpenny’ trick as guileful as a song’s refrain. For Chadwick it reflected both the playfulness often evident in his sculpture and a narrowing of the distance between art and reality: a confrontation that proved increasingly fertile. Such clashes could be merely allusive – in titles such as Later Alligator or Moon of Alabama – or, as in the case of Teddy Boy and Girl, point to imagery derived fundamentally from contemporary visual culture.
Two Figures, 1956
ink and pen
30.5 x 22 cm.
Signed and dated in ink lower right
Private Collection, UK
Osborne Samuel Gallery
The drawings with which Chadwick recorded each of hi sculptures – thumbnail sketches in ink, each accorded an opus number – were the precursors of his drawings in pen and wash. Filled with sepia, the outlines gain solidity and hence sculptural veracity. Chadwick would draw sculptures, once finished, to enable him to reassess them, and thence, perhaps, to take their forms in new directions.
Two Figures (1956) parallels the developing series of Teddy Boys and Two Dancing Figures, while not quite matching either. Heads are reduced to beaks, ribs strongly defined. Yet is this a pair, or two single figures? Each has four legs, a compositional ploy more often used for composite works to join two dancers as one. The potency of Chadwick’s draughtsmanship is such, however, that a cross-current passes between the two figures, gesturing and posing: dynamic in stance.
Two Winged Figures II, 1976
50.2 x 47 x 17 cm.
Each figure initialled, numbered and marked with the reference number
Edition of 8
Christie’s, Amsterdam, 1997
Sotheby’s, London, 2015
Private Collection, Brussels
Osborne Samuel, London
Dennis Farr & Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, published by Lund Humphries, no. 735, p.320
Galerie Farber, Brussels, Lynn Chadwick, Victor Pasmore, November – December 1976 (another cast)
Female figure 49.2 cm. (19 3/8 in.) high, Male figure 50.2 cm. (19 3/4 in.) high
Chadwick’s Winged Figures are not allegorical beings but are a result of his intuitive dialogue with materials and process. The leitmotif throughout Chadwick’s career was the paired figure. From 1953 onwards, Chadwick developed an array of typologies, whose features he inflected and interchanged. The first manifestation was Conjunction, followed by Two Dancing Figures (or simply Dance), then Encounter, Teddy Boy and Girl and Winged Figures. These were never passive meetings, or, for that matter, decorative pas-de-deux. In each instance, an electricity seems to arc between the figures.
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
Osborne Samuel, London
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
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
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.
Go Five, 1957
Oil and collage on board
58.4 x 121.9 cm.
Signed, inscribed and dated 'Robyn Denny./"Go Five" 1957 (Dec.)' (verso)
Osborne Samuel, London
Private Collection, UK (acquired from the above, 2007)
As one of the leading avant-garde artists in the 1950s, Robyn Denny helped propel British art into the international mainstream. In 1957 he graduated from the Royal College of Art, which by then had established itself as the country’s epicentre for creative thinking in the visual arts. Denny and fellow students like Richard Smith and Peter Blake produced work that expressed an urban vitality which was cool and raw in contrast to the lyrical charm portrayed by the abstracted landscapes of the St Ives School.
Go Five is an important and extremely rare early work made by Denny, shortly after his graduation. Like the artist’s other collage paintings from this period, the present work draws its inspiration from the city itself: the street signs, billboards, advertisements and graffiti. In his RCA thesis, Language, Symbol, Image, he noted, ‘some walls have been decorated in this way so frequently that the message has been obliterated, layer upon layer carrying the conflicting symbols of passing generations, and finally expressing defiance by saying nothing’ (artist’s archive, no. 1, pages unnumbered).
In 1973, Denny became the youngest living artist to have a retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London. In his catalogue introduction to that exhibition, Robert Kudielka refers to these early works as crucial to Denny’s later development – where the artist was ‘transmuted into the master of minimal nuances, of subtle tones and shifts’ (see R. Kudielka, Robyn Denny, London, Tate Gallery Exhibition, 1973, p. 15)
Red, Black and Blue Arrows, 1962
Oil on canvas
122 x 122 cm.
Signed, titled and dated on verso
Waddington Galleries, London
Peter Stuyvesant Foundation
Belgrave Gallery, London
Private Collection, UK (purchased from the above, 2001)
Osborne Samuel Gallery
Alan Bowness, Recent British Paining, 1988, page 60, Illustrated No 22
Galerie Charles Linehard, Zurich, Terry Frost 1963;
North Carolina Museum of Art, Young British Painters, 1964
Bolton Art Gallery 1966-67 (on loan)
Tate Gallery, London, Recent British Painting, 1967, No 22
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Recent British Paintings, 1970
Gillian Jason Gallery, London, Terry Frost, 1988, No11
In 1963 Frost moved with his young family from St Ives to Banbury. While looking at the area, a year earlier, he had discovered Compton Wynwates, a Tudor house belonging to the Marquis of Northampton. Inside he saw a Cromwellian chair upholstered in ‘unforgettable blue’ against the black of the wood which, with the space between its legs, looked like a piece of sculpture. The chapel outside contained flags that had been carried in the battle of Edge Hill. One of them, ‘fragile as a spider’s web’, had black chevrons with blue circles all round. As Frost left, he saw, in the peeling layers of the plaster, a blue full moon on the wall:
These experiences were so moving they have affected my paintings ever since. I came home and painted a grey, mixing my oils in such a way that I could get a black craze, and then I ran that blue through it; it had to be a single wet stroke and absolutely accurate; and there it was. What I had experienced gave a whole new meaning to chevrons for me, and new meanings for circles as well.
These shapes would accrue new significance during Frost’s years in Banbury, when he became fascinated by the town’s preponderance of road signs. Yet while the mid-1960s’ paintings gained a colourful, emphatic energy from such experiences, earlier examples, such as Blue, Black Arrow (1962) have a focused intensity.
The canvas of Blue, Black Arrow is divided into three sectors. A circle and ellipse fill the blue segment, the lower right area is colourfully striped, while the upper grey sector is traversed by a black, blue-tipped, arrow. These elements impel the downward motion of the composition, which is further animated by the pendulous ellipse and thrust of the arrow. Throughout, energy radiates from the multiplication of outlines, in shades of blue, aquamarine, turquoise, red and yellow.
Blue, Black Arrow was one of two paintings by Frost (with Red and Black, 1961) acquired for the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation, whose collection aimed to represent British artists at a formative point in their career. The parameters were that no painting should be earlier than 1951, and no artist younger than those included in the seminal ‘Young Generation’ exhibition, sponsored by the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1964. Just three years later, in 1967, the collection was shown in its entirety at the Tate as ‘Recent British Painting’, an exhibition that toured to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
 Terry Frost, interview with David Lewis (July 1993), quoted in David Lewis, Terry Frost (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1994), p. 101.
Pierced Form (Amulet), 1962
30.51 x 26 x 14.5 cm.
Signed, numbered, dated and stamped with foundry mark 'Barbara Hepworth 1962 5/9 Morris/Singer/FOUNDERS/LONDON' (on the reverse at the base edge)
Edition of 9
Private Collection, UK
H. Read, A Concise History of Modern Sculpture, London, 1964.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth Sculpture and Drawings, London, Gimpel Fils, 1964, n.p., no. 12, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Basel, Kunsthalle, 1965, n.p., no. 24, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Turin, Galeria Civic d’Arte Moderna, 1965, pp. 80-81, no. 32, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, London, Tate Gallery, 1968, p. 69, no. 124, illustrated
A. Bowness, The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London, 1971, p. 33, no. 316, pl. 62, another cast illustrated.
M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, London, 2004, p. 226, another cast.
S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth The Plasters: The Gift to Wakefield, Farnham, 2011, pp. 130-131, no. 18, figs 23-24, plaster and another cast illustrated.
Zurich, Gimpel-Hanover Galerie, Barbara Hepworth Sculpture and Drawings, , November 1963, no. 12
London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth Sculpture and Drawings, June 1964, no. 12, another cast exhibited.
Copenhagen, British Council, Kunstforeningen, Barbara Hepworth, September – October 1964, no. 27: this exhibition travelled to Stockholm, Moderna Museet, November – December 1964; Helsinki, Ateneum, January – February 1965; and Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus, March 1965.
Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Barbara Hepworth, May – July 1965, no. 35: this exhibition travelled to Basel, Kunsthalle, September – October 1965; Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, October – November 1965, no. 32; Karlsruhe, Badischer Kunstverein, February – March 1966; and Essen, Museum Folkwang, April – June 1966.
Montreal, Expo 67, The Genius of Britain, 1967, catalogue not traced.
London, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, April – May 1968, no. 124.
St Ives, Public Library, St Ives Council, Barbara Hepworth (commemorating the Honorary Freedom of St Ives, 1968), September 1968, ex-catalogue, plaster cast exhibited.
Hepworth gifted Herbert Read a cast of Pierced Form (Amulet) on the occasion of his seventieth birthday in December 1963.
Pierced Form (Amulet), 1962, prompted Hepworth to make Pierced Form the following year, a larger marble sculpture now in the Collection of Tate, London. Carved from Pentelicon marble, Pierced Form stands at almost 50 inches high and echoes the form of the smaller bronze which inspired it, including the shaped base. ‘The subtitle ‘amulet’, meaning a talisman or charm, was one which Hepworth used in the preceding year for the small bronzes Reclining Solitary Form (Amulet), 1961 (BH 307) and Upright Solitary Form (Amulet), 1961 (BH 308).
Two Forms Atlantic, 1961
9 x 11 x 5 cm.
Numbered on the underside of the larger of the two forms
Edition of 10
Private collection, UK (purchased from the 1962 Whitechapel exhibition by Sir Eric Walter White, former Director of the Arts Council)
Thence by descent
Private Collection, UK
Alan Bowness (Ed.), The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth, 1960-1969, Lund Humphries, London, 1971, cat.no.309, p.32, (pl.50, another cast ill.b&w)
London, Whitechapel Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, May-June 1962, no.68, where lent by the artist (this cast)
Rochester, University of Rochester, Memorial Art Gallery, The Arthur and Molly Stern Collection, 1962, no.13 (another cast)
London, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, April-May 1968, no.119 (another cast)
Indigo Mini with Brown Disc: June 1970, 1970
18.1 x 24.1 cm.
Signed, inscribed and dated 'INDIGO MINI WITH/BROWN DISC: JUNE 1970/Patrick Heron' (verso), signed again 'PATRICK/HERON' (on the backboard)
James Holland-Hibbert, London
Private Collection, UK (purchased from the above February 2002)
Osborne Samuel, London
Harrogate, Gallery Caballa, Harrogate Festival of Arts and Sciences, Patrick Heron – recent paintings, gouaches, screenprints, August 1970.
In this small, vibrant gouache, edges are of paramount importance. Firm, smudged or broken, they bound and surround areas of colour, controlling their intensity. Indigo acts as the controlling factor: through it, all forms become apparent.
From his earliest years as an artist, Heron favoured gouache for its opacity, rendering forms flat and ensuring unity across the paper’s surface. Lacking the translucency (and hence depth) of watercolour, gouache emphasises colour, and hence its function as a modifier of space. From 1962, Heron sharpened the edges between colours, preoccupied by the interaction of one upon the other. He was adamant that his gouaches were neither substitutes for oil paintings nor preliminary sketches, or even ‘a means of trying out new colour-shapes or configurations of dovetailed colour-shapes’ for use in later works on canvas.¹ They were paintings in their own right.
As with his oil paintings, however, the gouaches stemmed from rapid sketches on paper using ballpoint pen. He wrote, ‘I like the water in the paint mixture to lead me; to suggest the scribbled drawing which gives birth to the images’.² The tempo of the medium, which Heron described as ‘fast moving fluidity’, influenced the resultant jigsaws of wobbly edged forms, which owed a debt, too, to the granite rocks, coastline and ancient field patterns of the landscape near Eagle’s Nest at Zennor in Cornwall, Heron’s permanent home from 1956. As he acknowledged, ‘the rhythmic realities of a landscape where you live permeate your mind and your awareness, and your consciousness from the soles of your feet upwards’.³
¹ Patrick Heron, ‘A Note on my Gouaches’, text to accompany an exhibition of gouaches at the Caledonian Club, Edinburgh (1985).
² Patrick Heron, ibid.
₃ Patrick Heron, interview with Martin Gayford (1997), in Patrick Heron, ed. David Sylvester (London: Tate Publishing, 1998).
Spring Light Over a Landscape, 1957
Oil on Canvas
40.5 x 91.5 cm.
Signed 'Hitchens' lower right; further signed, titled and dated '1957' (on a label attached to the stretcher)
Rev. F.G. Coats O.B.E (Ivon Hitchens’ brother-in-law)
His sale; Sotheby’s, 1979
Private Collection, U.K. (acquired from the above)
Large ‘Jesus’ Crab (Larger Spider Crab), 1952-4
32.7 x 29 x 22.5 cm.
Arts Council label on base from the 1965 tour
Edition of 6
The Artist, until 1965
Private Collection, UK
Osborne Samuel, London
John Rothenstein, British Art Since 1900 , Phaidon, London, 1962, pl.145 (ill.b&w, another cast, where dated 1952)
Alan Bowness, Bernard Meadows, Sculpture and Drawings , Lund Humphries, London, 1995, p.138, cat.no.BM28
British Pavilion, XXXII Biennale 1964, Venice, unnumbered, (ill.b&w, another cast as Crab, where dated 1952)
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Roger Hilton, Gwyther Irwin, Bernard Meadows, Joe Tilson , 13 May-21 June 1965, unnumbered (this cast, where dated 1952); this exhibition travelled to Zagreb, Modern Gallery, Berlin, Kunstamt Reinickendorf, Museen der Stadt Recklinghausen and Kunstverein Braunschweig (this cast)
A key figure of post-war British sculpture, Bernard Meadows came to prominence as part of what is now referred to as the ‘Geometry of Fear’ generation of sculptors. He exhibited internationally throughout his career and is now represented in the permanent collections of major museums such as the Guggenheim, Hirshhorn and Tate.
Following a very brief and unsuccessful spell as a trainee accountant, Meadows enrolled at the Norwich School of Art aged 19. In his second year it was arranged for three selected students to pay a visit to Henry Moore’s Hampstead studio. Moore, so impressed by Meadows, sent him a postcard the following day asking if he may like to assist him for the upcoming Easter holidays. Meadows gladly accepted and, bar the war years, he would remain Moore’s assistant until 1948. During the war Meadows volunteered for the Royal Air Force and in 1943 was posted to India, including an extended period on the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. Counting surrealism and Picasso amongst his early influences and having learnt both the craft and sensibilities required of a sculptor from Moore, it was Meadows’ experience of these islands, and particularly their wildlife, which was to become an important marker in developing his own artistic development. The Cocos have a prevalent community of all manner of crabs which fascinated Meadows; tree crabs, large tank crabs, mosquito crabs, which although must have seemed alien at first became a most familiar feature of day to day life.
Following the end of the war Meadows returned to Britain and although he initially continued to work for Moore, by 1950 he developed his own sculpture. At first these were biomorphic abstractions akin to Moore’s work but he quickly moved into new territory with abstracted bird forms and in 1952 his first crab (Black Crab, Tate, London). Like the present cast, these works are at first animal yet remain not entirely removed from the preceding humanoid forms thus allowing an interpretation of representation of the human experience. In 1951 Meadows featured in the Festival of Britain to acclaim but his presence on the international stage was very much cemented by his inclusion in the now fabled exhibition in the British Pavilion at the 1952 Venice Biennale, New Aspects of British Sculpture. This exhibition championed the work of Meadows and seven other young contemporaries (Adams, Armitage, Butler, Chadwick, Clarke, Paolozzi and Turnbull). These artists worked in a more rough and ready aesthetic than the then established mode and shared a common concern borne from memories of war horrors witnessed just years earlier and the fear induced by the developing Cold War. Herbert Read penned the catalogue introduction from which the nomenclature for the group derived:
These new images belong to the iconography of despair, or of defiance; and the more innocent the artist, the more effectively he transmits the collective guilt. Here are images of flight, or ragged claws ‘scuttling across the floors of silent seas’, of excoriated flesh, frustrated sex, the geometry of fear.
Belonging to this period is Large ‘Jesus’ Crab, so called as the first cast was acquired by Jesus College, Cambridge. The piece is believed to be based on the form of the male Fiddler crab; a fast-moving specimen, with a cocoon-like body, raised on angular legs and possessing two eyes on stalks (which Meadows’ has moved underneath) and one greatly outsized claw that it raises aloft in a mating display. It perfectly suits Meadow’s requirements for his representation of human concern; composed of hardened shell over tender flesh, in a state of both threat and defence.
The present cast remained in Meadows’ possession until at least 1965, and latterly entered the collection of Tony Paterson. Paterson was a lawyer and through his friendship with Bryan Robertson, who he met at Toynbee Hall in the 1950s, he became much involved with the contemporary art scene from the 1960s when it is thought that he acquired this sculpture. He provided legal advice to the Air Gallery, Space (an organization to provide studios for young artists), the New Contemporaries and was Honorary Solicitor to the Contempory Art Society. Casts of the half scaled maquette for the present work are in the collection of the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and the Tate Gallery, London.
Family Group, 1945
18 x 10 x 6 cm.
Edition of 7
Sir Kenneth Clark, Saltwood (acquired from the artist)
The Honourable Colette Clark, Oxford (gift from the above)
Fischer Fine Art, Ltd., London
Ryda & Robert H Levi
Christie’s, New York, 2016
Private Collection, USA, 2016 (acquired from the above)
Osborne Samuel, London
David Sylvester (ed.) and Herbert Read, Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, 1921-48, vol. I, London, 1990, no.238. (not illustrated)
J. Hedgecoe and H. Moore, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, p. 176, no. 4 (another cast illustrated; plaster version illustrated, pp. 163 and 269; dated 1944).
A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Sculptures and Drawings 1964-73, London, 1977, vol. 4 (terracotta version illustrated, p. 10, pl. A).
B. von Erich Steingrber, Henry Moore Maquetten, Pantheon, 1978 (terracotta version illustrated, p. 24, fig. 23).
R. Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, London, 1987, fig. 88 (terracotta version illustrated).
J. Hedgecoe, A Monumental Vision, The Sculpture of Henry Moore, London, 1998, p. 210, no. 239 (another cast)
Other casts are held in the following collections: Cleveland Museum of Art, USA (Hinman B. Hurlbut Collection); The Tate, UK; The Henry Moore Foundation, UK.
The Family Groups are Moore’s most socially-minded sculptures, and considered perhaps the most admired subject in his oeuvre. He conceived this idea for a public commission related to the building of new towns and schools in Britain before the Second World War. It was not until 1944, however, during the height of the war, that it appeared funding for the commission might finally become available. Moore sculpted models of triadic as well as four-figure family groups. The combination of both parents plus two children was capable of generating more varied arrangements and a wider range of emotional expression.
These sculptures celebrated the nation’s anticipated return to peacetime well-being and the pleasures of family life. Moore intended that they should inspire a renewed emphasis on fundamental humanist values, while providing an aesthetic model for community spirit and co-operation, with the promise of progressive social services for all. These sculptures rejoice in the start of new young families. After a half-decade of wartime casualties and a low birth rate, to once again become fruitful and multiply was a crucial requirement for the economic and social revival of Britain during the post-war era.
Moore carried a lifelong dedication to the theme and depiction of family. His very first surviving stone carving, executed in 1922, was entitled Mother and Child (Lund Humphries, no. 3). By 1940, of the more than 150 sculptures he had produced to that date, 22 were versions of the Mother and Child theme. This subject had become something of an obsession for the sculptor; it allowed him to create a formal interaction between two figures—one small, the other much larger—based on their powerful and affecting emotional connection. At the same time, each of the figures contributed their particular weight and volume to form a single, unified, plastic entity.
In 1943, during the early years of the Second World War, Moore was commissioned to carve a Madonna and Child for St. Matthew’s Church in Northampton, England. This project provided the sculptor an opportunity to cast the mother and child theme in a traditional sacred context, in which the figures took on qualities, as Moore described them, “of austerity, and a nobility, and some touch of grandeur (even hieratic aloofness) which is missing in the everyday ‘Mother and Child’ idea” (quoted in A. Wilkinson, Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Berkeley, 2002, p. 267).
The Family Group theme materialized when Moore was asked by Henry Morris and Walter Gropius to create a sculpture for a village college at Impington near Cambridge. The college’s ideal of both child and adult education in a single institution appealed to Moore, who was clearly preoccupied with the link between parent and child. The occasion of a commission for a public sculpture, this time on behalf of an educational institution, encouraged the sculptor to consider the importance of the family as the primary human social unit whose close interpersonal relationships provided an exemplary guide for wider communal values.
Will Grohmann discusses the subject of the family group, “In the years between 1944 and 1947 he [Moore] produced a number of larger and smaller variations in stone, bronze and terracotta, differing considerably from one another, being both naturalistic and non-naturalistic, though never as abstract as the ‘reclining figures’. The theme does not hem him in, but it demands a certain readiness to enter into the meaning of a community such as the family” (W. Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, p. 141).
Figures in Settings, 1949
pencil, wax crayon, watercolour, conté pencil, gouache and ink on paper
29.2 x 23.5 cm.
Signed and dated lower right in pen and ink. Also inscribed in the centre right of the image in pencil: ‘rich golden brown/Background/ Giotto; Blank spaces – II’
Gimpel Fils, London, 1955
Private collection since the 1970’s
Osborne Samuel, London
The drawing is catalogued at the Henry Moore Foundation as HMF 2448a
Kenneth Clark wrote about Moore’s dramatic staged group drawings in 1978:
In his drawings Moore makes the dramatic quality of his forms explicit by relating them to each other in a unified space….In many of his early drawings dramatic groups, the protagonists are familiar figures from his notebooks, but they are arranged dramatically near the front of a sort of stage. Occassionally shadowy projections of themselves hang in the space behind or they are echoed in a kind of backcloth … (or) put into a bare cell, with several rectangular windows … What led Moore to imprison his creations in this way it is difficult to determine. Perhaps he felt that it allowed an unrestricted concentration on their plastic qualities.
Kenneth Clarke, Henry Moore Drawings, Thames and Hudson, 1978, p.113 – 114
Maquette for Strapwork Head, 1950
9.53 x 10.16 x 8.26 cm.
Signed and numbered (on the back of the base)
Edition of 9
Private Collection, USA
D. Mitchinson (ed.), Henry Moore: with comments by the artist, London, 1981, pp. 106, 311, no. 203 (another cast illustrated)
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture 1949-54, Vol. 2, London, 1986, p. 31, no. 289a, pls. 34-35 (another cast illustrated)
S. Compton, Henry Moore: Catalogue of the Royal Academy Exhibition, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1988, p. 226, no. 112 (lead version illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: Sculpture from the 40s and 50s, London, Waddington Galleries, 1995, pp. 14-15, no. 5 (lead version illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: War and Utility, London, Imperial War Museum, 2006, p. 51, no. 22 (another cast illustrated)
Conceived in 1950 in lead and cast in an edition of 9 in bronze in 1972.
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.
Reclining Nude: Crossed Feet, 1980
8.8 x 16 x 9 cm.
Signed and numbered on the artist's base
Edition of 9
The Goodman Gallery, South Africa
Private Collection, London (acquired from the above in 1981)
Thence by descent
Osborne Samuel, London
Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture: 1980-86, Vol. 6, London, 1988, no. 788, another cast illustrated, p. 36-37
Collegeville, Pennsylvania, Ursinus College, Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, Henry Moore Relationships, Drawings, Prints & Sculpture from the Muriel and Philip Berman Collection, 1993-1994 (another cast).
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Henry Moore, A Centennial Salute, An Exhibition in Celebration of Philip I. Berman, July-November 1998, no. 18 (illustrated, p. 30) (another cast).
A cast from the edition is owned by the Henry Moore Foundation.
In John Hedgecoe’s seminal book on the artist, Moore states, “from the very beginning the reclining figure has been my main theme.’₁ This subject is central to Moore’s creativity throughout his career. In his own words, “the reclining figure gives the most freedom, compositionally and spatially… A reclining figure can recline on any surface. It is free and stable at the same time. It fits in with my belief that sculpture should be permanent, should last for eternity.” ₂
Reclining Nude: Crossed Feet is an iconic sculpture. The initial impetus for the posture of the woman was inspired by the Chacmool figures which the artist first saw at the British Museum in the 1920s; the arms perpendicular to the ground, the knees raised and the twisting contours of the body. However in Moore’s Reclining Figures, the masculine rain god of the Chacmool has been, in William Packer’s words, ‘transformed into an image more general, unhieratic and benign, as a simple function of the softer, rounded forms that came with the change of sex, and the humanising informality of the relaxed and turning body.’ ₃
The crossed feet and hands are abbreviations of the limbs, an extension of the contradictory, relaxed torsion in the body. The contours of the sculpture evoke, as Moore noted, the disparate and enigmatic contours of the landscape, opening up voids beneath the shoulders and under the arms, echoed in the arching of the legs. The sculpture can thus be seen in the round, each angle stimulates a new and perhaps surprising interpretation.
₁ John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, published by Nelson, New York, 1968, p. 151
₂ Henry Moore cited in J.D. Morse, ‘Henry Moore Comes to America’, Magazine of Art, vol.40, no.3, March 1947, pp.97–101, reprinted in Philip James (ed.), Henry Moore on Sculpture, London 1966, p.264.
₃ Celebrating Moore, selected by David Mitchinson, published by Lund Humphries, 1998, p.125, extract written by William Packer
Reclining Figure: Fragment, 1952
9 x 14 x 7.8 cm.
Signed, numbered and stamped with foundry mark, at the base.
Edition of 9
Lefevre Gallery, London
Private Collection, purchased from the above at the November 1972 exhibition
Thence by descent
Osborne Samuel, London
Exhibition catalogue, Mostra di Henry Moore, Florence, Forte di Belvedere, 1972, n.p., no. 75 (another cast illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Small Bronzes and Drawings by Henry Moore, London, Lefevre Gallery, 1972, pp. 54-55, no. 24, illustrated (this cast)
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture 1949-54, Vol. 2, London, 1986, p. 43, no. 331a (another cast illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: Sketch Models and Working Models, London, Southbank Centre, 1990, p. 31, no. 13, fig. 25 (another cast illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore In the Light of Greece, Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, 2000, p. 157, no. 17 (another cast illustrated)
J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore: A Monumental Vision, Cologne, 2005, p. 217, no. 304, (another cast illustrated)
Florence, Forte di Belvedere, Mostra di Henry Moore, May – September 1972, no. 75 (another cast exhibited)
London, Lefevre Gallery, Small Bronzes and Drawings by Henry Moore, November – December 1972, no. 24 (this cast)
Madrid, British Council, Palacio de Velázquez, Henry Moore: Sculptures, Drawings and Graphics 1921-1981, May – August 1981, no. 135 (another cast exhibited)
London, Southbank Centre, Henry Moore: Sketch Models and Working Models, 1990, no. 13 (another cast exhibited): this exhibition travelled to Coventry, Mead Gallery, May – June 1990; Huddersfield, Art Gallery, June – August 1990; Wrexham, Library Arts Centre, August – October 1990; Bristol, Museum and Art Gallery, October – November 1990; Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery, December 1990 – January 1991; Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, January – March 1991; Stirling, Smith Art Gallery, March – April 1991.
Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Henry Moore In the Light of Greece, June – September 2000, no. 17 (another cast exhibited)
Rocking Chairs, 1948
Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor wash, pen and ink on paper
55.91 x 38.1 cm.
Unsigned and undated
Curt Valentin, Buchholz Gallery, New York
Mrs. Vera List, philanthropist and supporter of contemporary art, Greenwich, Connecticut
Thence by descent
Osborne Samuel, London
Henry Moore, Volume Two: Sculpture and Drawings Since 1948, (London: Lund Humphries, 1955)
Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1970)
Ann Garrould, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Drawings, Volume 3, 1940-49; (London and Much Hadham: Lund Humphries, 2001, p.288, ref AG48.43; HMF 2515
New York, New York, Buchholz Gallery, Henry Moore, March 6-31, 1951, illustrated cat no. 66 (in this catalogue the drawing is incorrectly dated 1949)
This work is registered in the Henry Moore Foundation archives as HMF 2515 and research file number 2020.38.
Rocking Chairs was purchased at Buchholz Gallery in 1951. The drawing was executed in 1948, four years before the bronze, Mother and Child on Ladderback Rocking Chair. In this drawing, Moore depicts five figure groups on rocking bases, with the
mother figure holding the child in various positions. Each group is three-dimensional, indicating that Moore conceived of the figure group as a sculpture from the beginning.
Moore’s series of sculptural rocking chairs was begun in 1950, when his daughter Mary, a much-loved and long-awaited child, was four years old. Although Moore had explored the theme of the mother and child since the 1920s, these new works showed a joy and tenderness born of experience. Will Grohman described them as ‘enchanting impromptus, the offspring of a lighter muse.’ 1 Their creation offers a glimpse both into Moore’s domestic life and the extent to which his personal and creative identity intertwined. Just as he experimented with how to balance the sculptures, so that they rocked perfectly, he would encourage Mary to think practically through play. For her eighth birthday party he produced a set of scales and invented a game to guess the weight of each guest. Moore’s estimates, perhaps unsurprisingly for a sculptor, proved accurate to within a few pounds. 2
Moore’s drawings provide a different insight. In the Rocking Chair Notebook (1947–8) he experimented with radically varied designs for the chair as well as the figures seated within them. The drawing, Rocking Chairs (1948), shows Moore adjusting the postures of mother and child so that each suggests an altered dynamic: from a protective embrace, to the joyous wriggling of the child held aloft, to an independent stepping forward, away from the mother’s arms. While mass is weighed through the technique Moore described as ‘sectional drawing’, dividing surfaces into jigsaw grids to highlight curves and planes, relatively little attention is paid to the chairs’ potential for movement: certain of the rockers seem implausibly flat. Instead, Moore lavishes his imagination on the figures. Grohmann noted how such variation developed across the span of the rocking chair series, although his words apply equally to this sheet of drawings: ‘heads became archaic knots, the bodies clothed skeletons, but the expression remains elated.’ 3
Rocking Chairs was bought in 1951 by the American philanthropist and collector, Vera List (1908–2002), from the Buchholz Gallery in New York. List, who a year later bought Moore’s Mother and Child on Ladderback Rocking Chair (1952), was an early and dedicated patron. In 1961 she and her husband sponsored the commission of Moore’s large-scale Reclining Figure (1963–5), in bronze, for New York’s Lincoln Center.
1. Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, new enlarged edition (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1960), p. 142.
2. Mary Moore, in Elizabeth Day, ‘The Moore Legacy’, The Observer (27 July 2008).
3. Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, p. 143
Coloured Relief, 1938
Oil and pencil on panel, laid on artist’s prepared board
41 x 51.51 cm.
Signed and dated verso
Redfern Gallery, London
Victor Pasmore (purchased from the above 17th February, 1950)
Stanley J. Seeger
His sale; Sotheby’s 14 June 2001
Private Collection, UK
Violin and Balalaika, c. 1932
Oil and pencil on canvas
51 x 61.5 cm.
Signed Nicholson and dated c. 1932 (on the backboard)
Helen Sutherland, Cumberland
Gifted to Mrs Nicolette Gray
Her sale, Sotheby’s London, November 1975
Sale, Sotheby’s London, April 1989
Sale, Christie’s London, June 2006
Fine Art Society, London
Private Collection, UK (acquired from the above in 2008)
Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Paintings and Drawings from the Private Collection of Miss Helen Sutherland, March – May 1962, no. 31
Painted circa 1932, Violin and Balalaika marks a highly important pivotal period of development for Nicholson when he was on the cusp of turning to the pure abstraction of his first white reliefs created only a year later in 1933. Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth had travelled extensively to Paris and Northern Europe in 1932 and visited the studios of Mondrian, Brancusi and Arp as well as Picasso and Braque, whose cubist lessons in transforming three-dimensional form into the two dimensional space of analytical and synthetic cubism Nicholson readily absorbed into his own visual language. The confident yet stylised line which simplifies the two instruments to their most pared down form undoubtedly represents a climax of Nicholson’s early style consolidating the influences and lessons he had amassed throughout the previous decade.
Violin and Balalaika belongs to a series of related musical still lifes executed at the time including
1932 (violin and mandolin), illustrated fig. 78 in Lyton
1932 (still life – violin), illustrated front cover of Lewison
1933 (guitar), Tate Collection
1932/3 (musical instruments), Kettle’s Yard, illustrated fig. 1 below
1933 (still life with mandolin), illustrated fig. 41 in Lewison
1932 (violin and balalaika ii), the present work
1932 (head with guitar / Avignon)
1933 (guitar), Kettle’s Yard
1933 (fiddle and Spanish guitar)
1932 (still life with violin / violin and compass)
1933 (coin and musical instruments), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The curvilinear structure of each instrument clearly appealed to the artist’s sense of form and in particular, the pyramidal body of the balalaika, a Russian instrument with three strings whose circular void of the music box made a pleasing contrast to the vertical emphasis of the strings themselves. The sophisticated simplicity of each instrument is enhanced by their position facing each other which alludes to Nicholson’s series of double portraits of himself with Hepworth (fig.2) who he had begun sharing a studio with in London in Spring 1932, around the time the present work was painted.
The distinctive surface of Violin and Balalaika is also important. The underlying ground is clearly visible beneath the multi-layered paint surface and as such, draws attention to the physical nature of the canvas itself. Winifred Nicholson highlighted that it was Christopher Wood who introduced her and Ben to the technique of ‘painting on coverine…it dries fast, you can put it over old pics’ (W. Nicholson, Kit, unpublished memoir, Tate Gallery Archive 723.100, p.25). It created a firm painting ground which was visible beneath the painted image. In the present work, the textured paint surface takes on an additional three dimensional quality as the elements of each instrument have been literally incised into the paint, almost punctuating the canvas itself.
It is significant that the first owner of Violin and Balalaika was Helen Sutherland (1881 – 1966), one of Nicholson’s earliest and most enduring patrons who he had met on 5th November 1925 through the artist Constance Lane. Both of her homes, Rock Hall in Northumberland and later Cockley Moor in Cumbria with renovations designed by Leslie Martin, became a refuge for Nicholson and many of his contemporaries. Sutherland was singularly adventurous in her support for the most avant-garde artists at the time acquiring works by Mondrian, Gabo, Hepworth and Moore long before they became recognised by a wider collecting community and crucially, she collected without hierarchy, as likely to support Brancusi as she was the Ashington group of artists who were former miners.
101.6 x 83.8 x 38 cm.
Stamped with artist's name and embossed with date '58
Judith Collins, Eduardo Paolozzi, 2014, Lund Humphries with the Paolozzi Foundation, Farnham, p. 118, pl. 97, illus
Eduardo Paolozzi, Sculpture, Drawings, Graphics 1949-1968, British Council touring exhibition, 1982,cat no.30, a large scale photograph of AG5 was exhibited in this exhibition
Winfried Konnertz, Eduardo Paolozzi, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, 1984, p91, illus b/w plate 174
Robin Spencer (ed), Eduardo Paolozzi: Writings and Interviews, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, p150
Robin Spencer, Eduardo Paolozzi: Recurring Themes, Rizzoli: New York, p. 23
Venice, XXX Venice Biennale, British Pavilion: Pasmore, Paolozzi, Clarke, Cliffe, Evans, Summer 1960,cat no.DD (dated 1959)
Paris, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Victor Pasmore, Eduardo Paolozzi, 22 March – 7 May 1961,cat no.55 (dated 1959)
Bochum, Stadtische Kunstgalerie, Eduardo Paolozzi, 1961, cat no.24
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Pasmore + Paolozzi, British Council, 1962, cat no.57 (dated 1959)
Sao Paolo, VII Bienal de São Paolo, Great Britain: Davie, Paolozzi, Vaughan, 1963, cat no.6 (dated 1959)
London, Tate Gallery, Eduardo Paolozzi, 22 September – 31 October 1971, cat no.38, illus b/w p68
Hanover, Kestner Gesellschaft, Eduardo Paolozzi, 6 December 1974 – 19 January 1975, illus b/w p79
Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Eduardo Paolozzi, 5 February – 6 April 1975, cat no.24, illus b/w p87
Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, Eduardo Paolozzi, Recurring Themes, Summer 1984, cat no. A1.7,illus b/w, touring to:
Munich, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Autumn 1984
Cologne, Museum Ludwig, 1985
Breda, De Beyard Centrum Voor Beeldende Kunst, 1985
London, Serpentine Gallery, Eduardo Paolozzi, Sculptures from a Garden, 6 August – 25 October 1987, cat no.10, illus b/w p27
A photograph by David Farrell shows AG5 placed outside, provisionally, on a circular pedestal. Raked light emphasises the collaged structure of the piece, the head a circuit-board of mechanical detritus, the work’ s title derived from printers’ lettering, positioned as a lapel-badge. This bricolage appears comfortable in its surroundings, sheltered by a wooden fence and grounded within a dirt-strewn yard. Transposed to a gallery environment, the audacity of AG5 becomes apparent. The head, monumental in size, is constructed from elements cast in wax then welded into a hollow structure. As John-Paul Stonard describes, Present-day objects are lifted into a timeless sphere where the future is figured as a ruin, and antiquity as a presentiment of this ruin. Time is collapsed within the coarse fabric of a human – barely human – figure. 1
The origins of Paolozzi’ s bronze heads, which developed through his graphic work, can be traced also to an interest in the vegetable-composite heads of the sixteenth-century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, seen at first-hand in the ICA’ s 1953 exhibition, ‘ Wonder and Horror of the Human Head’ . Some bronze heads, Paolozzi felt, retained a sense of the organic, as hybrid-plant aberrations. Not so AG5 , however, which seems squarely positioned as part of the sculptor’ s ‘ endless dialogue between man and machine’. 2
1 John-Paul Stonard, Archaeology of a Used Future: Sculpture 1946-59 (Jonathan Clark Fine Art in association with the Paolozzi Foundation, 2011), p. 33.
2 Paolozzi, interview with Frank Whitford, National Life Story Collection (1993-5), quoted in Judith Collins, Eduardo Paolozzi (Lund Humphries, 2014), p. 114.
50 x 30 cm.
Signed and dated
Simon Martin & Colin St John, Eduardo Paolozzi, Collaging Culture, Pallant House Gallery, 2013, Chichester, illus. p.32, no.25
Eduardo Paolozzi, Collaging Culture, Pallant House Gallery, 2013, Chichester, illus. p.25
Linear Symphony, 1974
Oil & gravure on board, relief
41 x 41 cm.
Signed with initials lower right
Galerie Farber, Brussels.
Private collection, Brussels
Osborne Samuel Ltd, London
Alan Bowness & Luigi Lambertini, Victor Pasmore: with a catalogue raisonne of paintings, constructions and graphics 1926-1979, published by Thames and Hudson, 1980, ref. B 549
Galerie Farber, Brussels, 1974
The formal neutrality of the square format has been retained from the 1960s constructed reliefs. The ensuing stability and order gives an underlying counterpoint to the more random deployment of rounded brown oblongs, coloured ovals and black lines. Whatever associations with the natural world these shapes may contain Pasmore was clear that, the symbol is intrinsic in the form of the painting and not a conceptual factor outside it. ₁ In other words the imagery is, intrinsic and organic» and is not a distortion or abstraction from natural appearances.
As well as reflecting the relative influence of the Maltese environment works like Linear Symphony reveal the experimental tenor and conceptual restlessness of Pasmore’ s work, its moving between different aesthetic poles. He talked of the developing process which printmaking and the collaboration with architects and urban planners on the long drawn out Peterlee New Town project in the north east bought to the fore. In 1988 Pasmore explained to Peter Fuller how Peterlee, gave me a sense of multi dimensional space, mobile modern space, not the confined space of the Renaissance. ₂
Such qualities of flux, movement and infinite space are evident in the aptly titled Linear Sympony. The hardness of architecture is, though, replaced by the organic softness of shapes whose residual associations with nature are only of an ambiguous kind.
The early 1980s proved an important moment in Pasmore’ s ever-evolving career. An Arts Council touring show in 1980 was followed by his becoming Companion of Honour (1981) and Royal Academician (1983).
₁ Victor Pasmore. Ed. Grieve.Tate Publishing p 139. 2010.
₂ Grieve 2010 p.98.
Rising and Falling Curve with Turquoise, Cerise, Olive and Black, 1974
Gouache and pencil on paper
146 x 51 cm.
Signed and dated in pencil lower right, titled lower left in pencil
Rowan Gallery, London (#R1302)
Private Collection, New York (from the above in 1975)
Scolar Fine Art, London (before 2004)
Private Collection, UK (before 2004)
Osborne Samuel, London
Untitled (Fragment 5), 1965
Screenprint on Plexiglas (on reverse of sheet)
60.6 x 78.99 cm.
Incised from the reverse 'Riley '65' lower right
Edition of 75
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York
Private Collection, UK
Bridget Riley Complete Prints: 1962-2012, Catalogue Raisonne by Karsten Schubert, published by Ridinghouse, 2012, no. 5e
From the edition of 75 plus 10 artist’s proofs.
Still Life, 1958
Oil on canvas
66.2 x 91.8 cm.
William Scott , exhibition catalogue, Berkeley Square Gallery, London, 1988, n.p., illustrated in colour ( as Brown Still Life , 1958) (first illustration)
William Scott and Friends, exhibition catalogue, Osborne Samuel, London, June – July 2013 (illustrated on cover)
Sarah Whitfield (ed.), William Scott Catalogue Raisonné of Oil Paintings , published by Thames & Hudson, 2013, No.358, Volume 2
Berkeley Square Gallery, London, William Scott , 26 September-15 October 1988, no cat. nos., illustrated in colour (as Brown Still Life , 1958)
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, William Scott: A Retrospective , 3 April-11 May 1997 (as Brown Still Life , 1957)
Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, William Scott , 9 October-2 November 1998, no. 2 (as Brown Still Life , 1957)
Osborne Samuel, London, William Scott and Friends, June – July 2013