BRITISH 1917 – 1984
Robert Adams (5 October 1917 – 5 April 1984) was an English sculptor and designer, once described as the ‘neglected genius of post-war British sculpture.’ Many critics and fellow artists alike regarded him as one of the foremost sculptors of his generation, with Tim Hilton ranking his work above that of his contemporaries, Ken Armitage, Reg Butler and Lynn Chadwick.
Adams left school in Northampton at age 14, getting a job with an agricultural engineering company, where the experience he gained in crafting metals proved useful in his later artistic creations. From 1937-1946 he attended classes in life drawing and painting at the Northampton School of Art and was a fire warden in the Civil Defence during the Scond World War, taking part in an exhibition in London alongside fellow artists working in the Civil Defence.
From 1949 until 1959 he taught at the Central School of Art and Design in London, where he came into contact with Victor Pasmore and artists such as Kanneth Martin and Mary Martin, who were pursuing the development of Constructivist ideas in Britain. It was at this time that he gained a reputation as one of the most important British sculptors and his work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1952. He was the subject of a solo retrospective of sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1962.
He first showed at the Redfern gallery in 1949; a total of five prints were included in the group exhibition Les Peintres Graveurs. His sculpture, paintings, drawings and prints have been shown around the world, and often Adams was selected for touring exhibitions organised by the British Council, from 1950 onwards. His work is held in various public collections, including the Arts Council, British Museum and Tate.
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