• 20th Century British And Irish auction at Christies

    Sale 7789

    20th Century British And Irish Art

    12 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 23

    William Turnbull (b. 1922)

    Head 2

    Price Realised  


    William Turnbull (b. 1922)
    Head 2
    signed with initial and dated 'T 55' (on the underside)
    bronze with a light brown patina
    8 in. (20.2 cm.) long
    Cast in an edition of 4.

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    'The Heads of 1955-57, in which human features almost, then totally, merge with the surface texture as a whole, accentuate anonymity of shape. Although they are elementary volumes for which descriptive terms such as 'drum' and 'egg' are natural, these Heads achieve impersonal detachment through a means opposite to the perfection sought by Brancusi. They emphasize experience. Worn, battered, lacerated and irregular, they are perceived as forms sufficiently fundamental still to proclaim their essential identity after everything has happened to them ... Each free-standing Head can be rolled into any position desired: they have no top or bottom' (see R. Morphet, loc. cit.).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the additional provenance for this lot:

    The Institute of Contemporary Arts; Sotheby's, London, 23 June 1966, lot 75, where purchased by the present owner.


    Exhibition catalogue, Turnbull, New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, 1963, p. 8, another cast illustrated.
    R. Morphet, exhibition catalogue, William Turnbull: sculpture and painting, London, Tate Gallery, 1973, p. 31, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Bronze Idols and Untitled Paintings, London, Serpentine Gallery, 1995, p. 20, another cast illustrated.
    B. Cohen, 'William Turnbull: painter and sculptor', Modern Painters, Winter 1995, pp. 30-35.
    Exhibition catalogue, William Turnbull: Sculpture and Paintings, London, Waddington Galleries, 1998, p. 3, another cast illustrated.
    A. Davidson, The Sculpture of William Turnbull, Aldershot, 2005, p. 93, no. 53, another cast illustrated.


    London, ICA Gallery, William Turnbull: new sculpture and paintings, September - November 1957, no. 8, another cast exhibited.
    New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Turnbull, October 1963, no. 26, another cast exhibited.
    London, Tate Gallery, William Turnbull: sculpture and painting, August - October 1973, no. 22, another cast exhibited.
    London, Serpentine Gallery, Bronze Idols and Untitled Paintings, November 1995 - January 1996, another cast exhibited.