Reg Butler - Drawing of a Female Form 1957

British 1913 - 1981

Signed and Dated 'Butler 57'

A Pencil Drawing

42.6 x 41.9 cm (16.75 x 16.5 in)

The present work is one of a series of pencil drawings (of 1957) carried out in parallel with his increasing use of clay and plaster; the additive process he was finding well suited to his desire to allow a work to grow from the inside. The female forms have moved away from the Giacometti inspired, caged, linear, constructed steel sculptures, towards a more plastic medium resulting in a substance inspired fullness. So too, the works in pencil show the same solid shapes, often contorted, clad in protective armour or bursting from restraining bonds; this particular drawing of a girl pulling her vest off over her shoulders is almost identical to the drawing also signed and dated 1957 in the Collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.One of a series of ‘pencil drawings in which the female figure is articulated like a manikin and sometimes clad in protective armour plating. Butler returned to this idea of a jointed figure in the sculpture which he entered for the Jubilee exhibition at Battersea Park in 1977’

Reg Butler had trained and practiced as an architect, but between 1941 and 1945 during the Second World War he, as a pacifist and conscientious-objector, found himself apprentice to a blacksmith. This led to working as an assistant to Henry Moore in 1947 and a year later to making his own sculpture from forged and welded iron. Reg Butler had his first one man show at the Hanover Gallery in London in 1949 and in 1950 began teaching at the Slade School. He became a Gregory Fellow at Leeds University in 1951, the same year in which he exhibited Birdcage  at the Festival of Britain. In 1952 he entered and won the sculpture competition for the monument to the Unknown Political Prisoner  which was to be sited in one of the great capitals of the world. The entrants had included Chadwick, Frink, Hepworth and Paolozzi. Inspired by the radio towers and other defence structures which populated the otherwise deserted coastline of Britain during the war this powerful monument, although never completed, gave Butler international recognition.

1949 Hanover Gallery
1951 Festival of Britain
1952 & 1954 Venice Biennale
1955 Museum of Modern Art New York, “The New Decade” Exhibition
1957 Sao Paulo Biennale
1959 Pierre Martine Gallery New York
1963 A Retrospective Exhibition J.B. Speed Art Museum Louiseville (KY)
Retrospective Exhibition Tate Gallery 1983
1973 Sculpture & Drawings 1968-1972  Pierre Matisse Gallery N.Y.

International Public Collections:
Tate Gallery, London
British Museum, London
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Smithsonian Institution, Washington
Hakone Open Air Museum, Japan
Kenwood House, London
Boston Museum of Fine Art (Figure in Space 1959)
Hirshorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Wales
National Portrait Gallery

Exhibition Cat. Reg Butler Tate Gallery 1983
Exhibition Cat. Reg Butler Pierre Martine Gallery New York 1959

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