Artist biography

English sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker and painter, active in Germany. He studied painting and printmaking at Douglas School of Art and Technology, Isle of Man (1951–4), and at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1956–9). He reacted against what he felt to be the lack of craftsmanship and the reductive formalism of contemporary sculpture, producing instead a heroic and public art increasingly inspired by 19th-century models. Sandle worked slowly and obsessively in the 1960s and 1970s on a small number of separate major pieces, beginning with virtually abstract works which in form and in their use of fibreglass and resin were more typical of their period than the massive and explicit bronze with which this phase of his art culminated.

In 1973 Sandle took up residence as a professor of sculpture in West Germany. From the 1980s he produced small-scale bronzes in limited editions, often in the form of funerary monuments. These were complemented by drawings in ink and watercolour on similar themes. His desire to work on a grand scale led him to monumental single figures and to large public sculptures. The first such commissions awarded to him in England were realised only as maquettes. Sandle's ambitions, encompassing the tradition both of Renaissance equestrian sculpture and of forms in movement borrowed from Futurism, emerged with particular clarity in the massive bronze St George and the Dragon (h. 8.5 m, 1987–8; London, Dorset Rise), his first major public monument in England.

Bibliography
The Inner Image (exh. cat., ed. J. Reichardt; London, Grabowski Gal., 1964) [with statement by Sandle]
‘Vera Lindsay in Discussion with Michael Sandle', Studio Int., clxxviii/914 (1969), pp. 80–84
D. Petherbridge: ‘Disquieting Memorials: Drawings and Sculpture of Michael Sandle', Archit. Rev. [London], clxix (June 1981), pp. 374–7
Michael Sandle (exh. cat. by J. McEwen, London, Fischer F.A., 1981)
Geometry of Rage: Denis Masi, Deanna Petherbridge, Michael Sandle (exh. cat., ed. R. Martin; Bristol, Arnolfini Gal., 1984)
Michael Sandle (exh. cat., essay by K.-E. Vester; Duisburg, Lehmbruck-Mus., 1984)
Michael Sandle: Sculpture & Drawings, 1957–88 (exh. cat. by J. Bird and M. Livingstone, London, Whitechapel A.G., 1988)

JOHN McEWEN

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