ROBERT ADAMS (1917-1984)
MODERN BRITISH (20th Century ) Biography

Spiral & Curve opus 46 (England, 1957)

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Bronzed steel
Unique

Dimensions

88.50cm high
63.50cm wide
(34.84 inches high)
(25.00 inches wide)
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Provenance

Gimpel Fils, London

Literature

Alastair Grieve, The Sculpture of Robert Adams, The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, London 1992, number 238, pages 180-181, illustrated page 181

Exhibition History

London, Gimpel Fils, Robert Adams, February-March 1958, number 6
London, Camden Arts Centre, Robert Adams - Retrospective, June-July 1971, number 16

Description / Expertise

In 1957, Robert Adams won a commission to design a sculpture for the city theatre at Gelsenkirchen in Russia. This towering, abstract concrete relief was his most important architectural work, and when he returned to his London studio in Pilgrims Lane, the memory of it changed his entire outlook on sculpture. Unlike his gently carved wood sculptures from his days at the Northampton School of Art, he began welding iron and bronze, cutting and joining together huge strips of metal as Julio Gonzalez had done before him. Furthermore, the growing public acceptance of abstract art after the Second World War allowed him a truly expressive use of material, unhindered by the restrains of representation.
Spiral and Curve, Opus 46 was one of the most striking exhibits in his one man show at Gimpel Fils Gallery in 1958. This dynamic work epitomised the new sense of speed and vibrancy of movement in his new linear forms and curved planes. Robert Adams revealed how this new direction in his art was primarily concerned with energy: …a physical property inherent in metal. A major aim I would say, is movement, which I seem to get through asymmetry…Their directional movement is not a movement outwards to infinity and space, but heavy surging thrust that is arrested almost as soon as it begins and the forms remain firmly anchored to the screen.(1)


1. Quoted, in Alastair Grieve, The Sculpture of Robert Adams, The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, London 1992, page 76