Artwork by Kenneth Armitage,  Two Figures with a Drawing
Thumbnail of Artwork by Kenneth Armitage,  Two Figures with a Drawing Thumbnail of Artwork by Kenneth Armitage,  Two Figures with a Drawing Thumbnail of Artwork by Kenneth Armitage,  Two Figures with a Drawing Thumbnail of Artwork by Kenneth Armitage,  Two Figures with a Drawing Thumbnail of Artwork by Kenneth Armitage,  Two Figures with a Drawing

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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Kenneth Armitage
Two Figures with a Drawing

mixed media sculpture
aluminum cast with screenprint; signed with initials, dated “1972-76” and editioned 3/4 on the underside
15 x 15.75 x 7.5625 ins ( 38.1 x 40 x 19.2 cms ) ( overall )

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Provenance:
Collection of Joe Wolpe, Cape Town
Strauss & Co., auction, “19th Century, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts and Jewellery”, March 18, 2019, lot 434
A Private Canadian Collection
Literature:
Literature: Tamsyn Woollcombe (ed.), Kenneth Armitage: Life and Work, Lund Humphries / Henry Moore Foundation, London, 1997, page 36
Following over a decade of bronze sculpture of abstract human forms, in the mid-1960s Kenneth Armitage adapted to the styles of the time, often incorporating plastic or spray paint into more whimsical, Pop-inspired works. His sculpture would also become less frontal and more three-dimensional. In this later period, he became involved with experiments in the conjunction of drawing and sculpture through the use of mounted silkscreens and by the juxtaposition of small plaster figures and graphic backgrounds. Figures exemplifies this new period in his career. The playful multimedia work consists of a wood and plaster sculpture of two walking figures, who appear to be interacting with one another. Behind them is a black and white mounted silkscreen, forming a backdrop setting as if in a theatre. Dating to 1972, Figures is a work that is intended to be viewed from three angles - certain portions of the sculpture component are painted on each side, and the overall actions of the figures vary slightly depending on where the viewer looks. The background is composed of black and white sketches of walking figures; forming a three-dimensional crowd of people. One of the sculptures has a drawn-on arm, further creating optical confusion, blurring the boundaries between the two areas.

No matter what his preferred medium was at any given moment, Armitage always gravitated to human beings as his primary subject. The artist stated, "Naturally my sculpture contains ideas or experiences other than those that derive directly from observation of the human image, nevertheless it is always dressed in some degree in human form."

At the time of production of Figures, Armitage was a visiting professor at Boston University in Massachusetts, though he would accept a position as visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art from 1974-79. His work was now held in major institutional collections including the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and British Council.
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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703


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Kenneth Armitage
(1916 - 2002)

British artist Kenneth Armitage was known for his semi-abstract bronze sculptures and for being part of the great renaissance of British sculpture in the early post-war period. Born in 1916 in Leeds, he attended the Leeds College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. After serving in the army in World War II, Armitage became the head of sculpture at the Bath Academy of Art from 1946 and 1956. It was considered one of the most innovative art schools in Britain at the time. The method of bronze casting had been in severe decline because of the austerity of the post-war years; Armitage was instrumental in a foundry being built nearby so that students and staff could learn, work and collaborate.

Armitage's very early works were carved in stone, but in the post-war years he began casting in bronze, initially using plaster modelled on metal armatures, later using clay. He first attracted international attention at the 26th Venice Biennale in 1952 as one of a group of young British sculptors including Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, William Turnbull and Eduardo Paolozzi, whose work demonstrated a new anti-monumental, expressionist approach. Most of his works are recognizably human, but are sometimes joined with the forms of animals or furniture. By the 1960s he had begun working with wax, resin and aluminium; later he became interested in the combination of drawing and sculpture, experimenting with photographic, drawn and printed images of figures on three-dimensional surfaces. In the 1980s his subjects shifted from figure to nature and he created a series of sculptures and drawings of oak trees in Richmond Park, London. Armitage has exhibited worldwide and is recognised as one of the major British sculptors of the twentieth century.