1917 - 1984
Drawing of curved forms with a tendril of ivy, opus 113, 1960
Pencil on paper
15 3/8 x 11 1/8 in, 39.1 x 28.3 cm
Robert Adams came to prominence at the 1952 Venice Biennale alongside Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Kenneth Armitage, and Eduoardo Paolozzi. However, in contrast to his contemporaries’ use of geometric, ‘primitive’...
Robert Adams came to prominence at the 1952 Venice Biennale alongside Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Kenneth Armitage, and Eduoardo Paolozzi. However, in contrast to his contemporaries’ use of geometric, ‘primitive’ and machine-like forms, Adams took inspiration from nature to create elegant sculptures such as such as 'Curved Forms, Opus 113' (1960) for which this is a preparatory drawing.
Following World War Two, Adams began to carve sculptures from wood. Working in the tradition of Moore and Hepworth, he used curled bud-like forms in his work. In this drawing Adams makes clear that the slim rod and soft, organic shapes of the sculpture 'Curved Forms, Opus 113' reference ivy leaves on a stem. Although Adams continued to use natural forms throughout his career, in 1949 he replaced his use of wood with metal. While teaching sculpture at the Central School of Art and Design in London Adams learnt how to weld and during the 1960s he produced constructions of steel sheets and rod elements, as found in the present sculpture.
As well as taking inspiration from the natural world, Adams was also interested in the links between art and architecture. A group of abstract painters formed around Adams: they included Victor Pasmore, Adrian Heath and Kenneth Martin with whom he exhibited between 1951 and 1956. He was sympathetic to the group's Constructivist aesthetics and shared an interest in capturing movement: “I am concerned with energy, a physical property inherent in metal, [and] in contrasts between linear forces and masses, between solid and open areas”. Armitage’s interests remained in shape and form, rather than politics, and during the 1960s and 1970s he continued to concentrate on creating “permanent symbols of an abstract kind, from which to apprehend nature”.
Estate of the artist
Grieve, Alastair, ‘The Sculpture of Robert Adams’, pub.The Henry Moore Foundation in association
with Lund Humphries, London: 1992, reproduced p.87 (see notes p.88)