Kenneth Armitage 1916-2002

Provenance

Private Collection, UK

Exhibitions

London Whitechapel Gallery Kenneth Armitage, July-August 1959

cat no. 2 (plaster exhibited)

Literature

Norbert Lynton, Kenneth Armitage, Methuen, 1962 (illustrated, another cast)

Tamsyn Woollcombe (ed.) Kenneth Armitage: Life and Work.
The Henry Moore

Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, 1997 cat.no. KA13, p.143  Illustrated p.27 (1951 cast)

Linked Figures was Armitage’s first major sculpture to incorporate the theme of figures grouped into a single form, and as such is the genesis of a series of sculptures that develop this theme for much of the next decade. These Giacometti-influenced works were seen by the critics of the day, notably Herbert Read, to be expressive of the post-war angst.

Born in Leeds, and after Leeds College of Art, Armitage studied at the Slade School of Art (1937-9) before serving in the army from 1939-46.

This work was originally sculptured at Corsham Court, the home of the Bath Academy of Art, in 1949, where Armitage was Head of Sculpture Department. It was not cast in bronze until 1960. The casting was by the German foundry of Noack, and the introduction to them was a direct result of Armitage’s move from Gimpel Fils to Marlborough Fine Art in 1959. The work was cast in an edition of 6.

Armitage belongs to the group of expressionistic sculptors who won prominence at te Venice Biennale of 1952 in the ground-breaking exhibition, New Aspects of British Sculpture. His contemporaries included Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick and Bernard Meadows.

This sculpture is also one of the first works Armitage produced that has two very definite sides, and the forms of the heads, arms and hand all reappear in his sculptures of the following years.