Kenneth Armitage CBE RA

1916
- 2002

Born in Leeds in 1916, Kenneth Armitage studied at Leeds College of Art (1934-1937) and the Slade School of Art in London (1937-1939), before putting his artistic career on hold at the outbreak of the Second World War, serving in the British Army from 1939-1946. In 1952, he had his first solo show in London and, in the same year, his sculpture was exhibited at the Venice Biennale, gaining him international acclaim. His pre-war work consisted mainly of carvings (most of which he later destroyed), but soon after the war he began working in bronze, which remained a favourite material for what he described as ‘the fluid, unifying and sensual quality it can give’. Bronze was also much more suitable for the spindly-legged, slab-bodied figures that were characteristic of his work at this time; he depicted them singly or in groups, in everyday attitudes, with a sense of affection and often humour. ‘I find most satisfying work which derives from careful study and preparation but which is fashioned in an attitude of pleasure and playfulness’. Armitage is best known for his iconic bronze figures of the 1950s, which, as the decade progressed, became more impersonal in character and often larger in scale. From the late 1960s he became more experimental in technique, combining sculpture and drawing in figures of wood, plaster, and paper, however he later returned to bronze. He received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the David E. Bright Foundation Award for his solo exhibition at the 1958 Venice Biennale; he was made a CBE in 1969, and elected Senior Royal Academician in 1994. His sculptures have been acquired by collections including the British Council, The National Galleries of Scotland, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Tate Gallery, London. Armitage died in London in 2002.

Register or Login to follow this artist

OR

Register or Login to follow this artist

OR

For a full list of available works contact the gallery

Register Interest

First Name*
Last Name*
Email*
* denotes required fields

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.

Thank You

We look forward to sending you advance information and keeping you up to date. Please check your email inbox for further information from Messums.org