Reg Butler 1913-1981
Forged and welded iron 335 x 109 x 107 (13 1/4 x 4 1/4 x 4 1/8) including integral fired clay base
Incised ‘S' in top of base near corner
Purchased from Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Prov: Hanover Gallery, bt Marcus Whiffen 1949; ... ; sold Sotheby's, New York, 18 Dec. 1981 (66, repr., as ‘Maquette, 1948') bt Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York.
Exh: Sculptures in Iron by Reg Butler, Hanover Gallery, July-Aug. 1949 (2); Reg Butler, A Retrospective Exhibition, J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, Oct.-Dec. 1963 (7); Reg Butler, Tate Gallery, Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984 (16, repr., as ‘Maquette for Woman')
Lit: Richard Calvocoressi, ‘Reg Butler: The Man and the Work' in Reg Butler, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, 1983, pp.16-17
At the Hanover Gallery in 1949 this was exhibited as ‘Woman (1949). Project for large figure', and it is similarly listed in the artist's record books (number 20). The large figure is the Tate Gallery's ‘Woman' 1949 (N05942, 2210mm, 87in high), bought by the Gallery from the Hanover Gallery in 1950. This was Butler's first large sculpture in iron and dominated his room at the Hanover Gallery in 1949. It is very similar to this study, and the only notable difference is that the large sculpture has an extra hole, perhaps representing a navel, just above where the ‘body' meets the lower horizontal. No other maquettes are known, but it is likely that Butler drew studies.
The first owner of the maquette, Marcus Whiffen, was an English architect who later moved to Phoenix, Arizona. It still belonged to him in 1963, when he lent it to the exhibition at Louisville, Kentucky.
The two ‘feet' of the sculpture are glued into holes in the ceramic base and the base itself is decorated with straight lines incised beside its edges on top and on each side.
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.499-500