Elisabeth Frink

Elisabeth Frink

head by elisabeth frink

Elisabeth Frink

Head, 1959

Price on Request

torso by elisabeth frink

Elisabeth Frink

Torso, 1958

Price on Request

mirage ii by elisabeth frink

Elisabeth Frink

Mirage II, 1967

Price on Request

head by elisabeth frink

Elisabeth Frink

Head, 1983

Price on Request

Wednesday, November 11, 2009Saturday, December 12, 2009

22 Cork Street
London, United Kingdom

Newly discovered early Frink exhibited for first time

Beaux Arts presents a fascinating exhibition of work by Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993), RA, one of Britain’s most important post-war sculptors.

The centre-piece of the show will be a new casting (by Frink’s original foundry Morris Singer) of a recently discovered, life-size plaster of Frink’s Birdman (c1956/9). The plaster maquette was purchased at auction by The Frink Estate, whom Beaux Arts represents, in April 2008.

It’s rare for a plaster of this age to have survived but this one had been given to the owner by the artist herself almost half a century ago, in 1960, and had been kept safely out of harm’s way in a London flat. Frink produced a number of Birdmen in the late 1950s and 60s during one of the most productive periods of her career and the sculpture represents a fusion of some of her most important themes; her fascination with the male figure and her decision to depict man as a vulnerable, waif-like creature, caught up in the terrors of life. (She was equally capable of course of portraying man as the hero, strong and untouchable.) Its helmetlike head also reveals the contemporary preoccupation with the space race that was then dominating news headlines.The figure is slightly ethereal, balanced on spindly legs with, according to Frink, ‘fractured wings or the debris of war and heroics’.

As Germaine Greer says in her catalogue essay to the show, ‘For 40 years, as fashions ebbed and flowed and isms rose and fell around her, Elisabeth Frink kept her eye firmly fixed on her great theme, the paradox of masculinity. [...] Frink’s male hero and male victim are one and the same. Her Birdman strains to fly but will never leave the ground.’

She continues: ‘Frink was as uninterested in the female form as both Richier and Bourgeois are interested in it. She said that she found men’s bodies more beautiful. She was after all motivated by the same feeling that drove men to paint women, by sublimated desire. [...] If men choose to sculpt female figures because they are the desirable other, women may do the same, but so far only Frink has managed it.’

The Tate was an early buyer of Frink’s Birdman sculptures. The Estate’s intention is to donate the original plaster to The Art Fund so that the public can see at first hand Frink’s working process.

The show also includes a robed figure from the Dorset Martyr group (1985/6), which Frink originally produced as a commission for the town of Dorchester, and which stands as a memorial to persecuted people everywhere. Sculpture prices range from £20,000 (Pilgrim, 1983) to £225,000 (Dorset Martyr Robed Figure, 1985/6); the Birdman is £180,000 plus VAT (an edition of four, plus an artist’s copy - one of the edition has already been sold to a private collector). The exhibition also includes a selection of her drawings (from £4,000).

For further information or images, contact Emma Lilley on 020 7437 5799 email info@beauxartslondon.co.uk