• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5389

    20th Century British Art

    16 July 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 73

    Bernard Meadows (1915-2005)

    Head for Wounded Bird

    Price Realised  


    Bernard Meadows (1915-2005)
    Head for Wounded Bird
    bronze with a dark green patina
    11 in. (27.9 cm.) high, excluding base
    Conceived in 1956.

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    In the early 1950s Meadows 'began to explore the formal possibilities of sculpture based on animal forms, in particular the cock and the crab. It was not so much that he was interested in animals for their own sakes, but as vehicles for the human figure. These animal sculptures carry an emotional charge that is immediately translatable into human terms. These were the sculptures which pre-occupied Meadows during the 1950s, and it was on them that his reputation was based. They were first shown, not in Britain, but at the 1952 Venice Biennale. It was the mixed exhibition in a part of the British Pavilion, New Aspects of British Sculpture, that announced to the world that a new generation was emerging, in succession to Moore and Hepworth, who had been shown at the 1948 and 1950 Biennales respectively' (see A. Bowness, Bernard Meadows Sculpture and Drawings, Much Hadham, 1995, p. 12).
    Meadows himself commented 'I look upon birds and crabs as human substitutes, they are vehicles, expressing my feelings about human beings. To use non-human figures is for me at the present time less inhibiting; one is less conscious of what has gone before and is more free to take liberties with the form and to make direct statements than with the human figure: nevertheless they are essentially human' (op.cit, p. 15).

    See lot 74.

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    A. Bowness, Bernard Meadows, Sculpture and Drawings, London, 1995, p. 139, no. 38 (another cast illustrated).