Ken­neth Ar­mitage

The Week Middle East - - Arts -

at Jonathan Clark Fine Art “I like sculp­ture to look as if it hap­pened, to ex­press an idea as sim­ply as pos­si­ble,” the late sculp­tor Ken­neth Ar­mitage (1916-2002) said of his work. This ex­hi­bi­tion, which con­cen­trates on the artist’s later years, is a tes­ta­ment to the stylis­tic clar­ity he aimed for. Ar­mitage’s work was al­ways vis­i­bly in­debted to an­cient sculp­ture, but he fil­tered these in­flu­ences through a dis­tinctly hu­mor­ous lens of modernism. Look­ing at his fig­ures here, you could be for­given for see­ing a link to both Cy­cladic stat­u­ary and Keith Har­ing’s “danc­ing ba­bies”, with per­haps a dose of Tony Hart’s plas­ticine “Morph” fig­ures thrown in for good mea­sure. Other works on show take a turn for the sin­is­ter: limbs pro­trude from slabs of bronze, as if at­tached to in­eptly en­tombed bod­ies, and strange lit­tle struc­tures re­sem­ble rit­u­al­is­tic char­nel houses. The real thrill, though, comes with Ar­mitage’s de­light­fully ex­pres­sive draw­ings. They are al­most child­like in their sim­plic­ity, but seem to crackle with en­ergy. Prices range from £4,500 to £75,000. 18 Park Walk, London SW10 (020-7351 3555). Un­til 2 De­cem­ber. A paint­ing by John Con­sta­ble is to be sold at auc­tion, af­ter the Tate gallery re­luc­tantly ac­cepted that it was “Nazi-era loot”, says The Art News­pa­per. Beach­ing a Boat, Brighton (1824) was do­nated to the Tate in 1986 by a Mrs P.M. Rains­ford. How­ever, its prove­nance be­fore 1962, when it turned up in London, was murky, and the heirs of Baron Ferenc Hat­vany, a Hun­gar­ian art col­lec­tor, re­cently made a claim against the Tate. The UK’s Spo­li­a­tion Ad­vi­sory Panel found that the paint­ing was stolen dur­ing the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion of Hun­gary: Hat­vany had put the Con­sta­ble, along with other works, in the vaults of a Bu­dapest bank, from where it was later looted by Nazi of­fi­cials. The Tate took the un­usual step of ask­ing the panel to re­con­sider its de­ci­sion, and sub­mit­ted fur­ther ev­i­dence – to no avail. The paint­ing was re­turned to Hat­vany’s de­scen­dants ear­lier this year. It will be auc­tioned next month in London, with an es­ti­mated price of £600,000 to £800,000.

De­sign for a Wilder­ness No. 4 (1971)

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