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Horse 1

Turnbull, W.
Horse 1
signed with monogram, numbered and dated '4 / 6 /87' (at the base)
bronze with a dark brown patina, on a black marble base
31 in. (78.8 cm.) long, including base
Conceived in 1987.
with Waddington Galleries, London.
Acquired by the present owner circa 2001.
Exhibition catalogue, William Turnbull: Sculptures 1946-62, 1985-87, London, Waddington Galleries, 1987, p. 73, no. 30, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, William Turnbull, Caracas, Galería Freites, 1992, p. 16, another cast illustrated.
A.A. Davidson, The Sculpture of William Turnbull, Much Hadham, 2005, p. 172, no. 251, another cast illustrated.
London, Waddington Galleries, William Turnbull: Sculptures 1946-62, 1985-87, October - November 1987, no. 30, another cast exhibited.
New York, Terry Dintenfass Inc., William Turnbull: Sculptures 1946-62, 1985-87, March - April 1988, another cast exhibited, catalogue not traced.
London, Waddington Galleries, Sculpture, October - November 1988, ex-cat., another cast exhibited.
Caracas, Galería Freites, William Turnbull, October - November 1992, another cast exhibited.
New York, Barbara Mathes Gallery, William Turnbull: Sculpture, April - June 2002, another cast exhibited, catalogue not traced.

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Lot Essay

William Turnbull’s exploration of depicting three-dimensionality reflects a departure from the strict formalistic constraints that categorised much of western art in the preceding centuries. He produced artworks in the spirit of archaic forms, looking into the anthropology and archaeology of eras ranging from the Neolithic period to ancient Greece to inform his process. Additionally, the artist travelled to Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore to engage in the visual philosophies of non-European cultures. These influences informed Turnbull’s diverse expressions of figures, which are often simplified and do not seek a traditionally representational approach.

The horse, in particular, is a recurring motif in Turnbull’s creative output, and his first artwork on this subject matter was a plaster sculpture which he created while studying at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1946. His representation of the creature in this sculpture is comprised of two main parts; a flat form for the face, and an arched cylindrical feature denoting the neck, which are conjoined by a thin connecting element. Two circular voids make up the animal’s eyes, and lines are etched into the horse’s face to suggest teeth. Turnbull’s emphasis on surface is clear through the complex marks imprinted upon it, affording the form an intense visual agency, and providing evidence of the artist’s intimate physical relationship to the sculpture.

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