Standing Figure, 1954
Bronze with a green and grey patina
32 1/8 x 7 7/8 x 4 3/4 in, 81.3 x 20 x 12 cm
Edition 4 of 6
‘Standing Figure’ was created just two years after Armitage showed at the British Pavilion of the 1952 Venice Biennale. The exhibition propelled Armitage onto the world stage, describing how 'I...
‘Standing Figure’ was created just two years after Armitage showed at the British Pavilion of the 1952 Venice Biennale. The exhibition propelled Armitage onto the world stage, describing how "I was really at the beginning of my professional life. I was totally unknown before that, and in those few weeks I became a known name internationally". Entitled ‘New Aspects of British Sculpture’, the display placed Armitage’s work alongside that of Lynn Chadwick, Graham Sutherland, William Turnbull and Henry Moore.
Armitage was greatly inspired by ancient art forms. While studying at Slade School of Fine Art in London Armitage frequently visited the British Museum, exclaiming that “You cannot imagine the exhilaration of seeing an Egyptian and a Cycladic work! After all the classical decadence of 19th century sculpture… it came like a gush of fresh air – pure, direct, simple.” In ‘Standing Figure’ Armitage adopts the ‘primitive’ style of reducing the human form to its most basic components. The figure has been flattened, with the head reduced to a rectangle on top of a spindly torso and legs and circular centre.
Armitage hand cast 'Standing Figure' while teaching at Bath Academy of Art in Corsham. During this period Armitage did not sign or number his casts believing that their quality and character was a solid reassurance it was by his hand. This makes the present work a unique early piece. Other examples of the artist’s sculptures can be found in such collections as Tate, London; MoMA, New York; Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York
Artcurial, Paris, 24 October 1996
Connaught Brown, London
Private Collection, UK (acquired from the above)
New York, Bertha Schaefer Gallery, 1956
Tamsyn Woollcombe (ed.), Kenneth Armitage: Life and Work
, London, 1997, p.143, no.KA50
James Scott, The Sculpture of Kenneth Armitage,
London, 2016, p.103, no.50, illus. of another cast
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by
Kenneth Armitage and dated January 1991