Geoffrey Clarke

Head

1952

Medium
Iron and stone
Dimensions
Object: 180 x 90 x 110 mm, 3.2 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Transferred from the Victoria & Albert Museum 1983
Reference
T03713

Display caption

This is one of a number of small iron sculptures made by Clarke in the early 1950s. He then had use of a studio with a forge in South Kensington, near the Royal College of Art, where he had studied. Many of the sculptures were of heads or masks. This head, with its sharp features, suggests a continuation of the Surrealist tradition in sculpture and the sophisticated simplification of African carving. In 1985 Clarke described 'Head' as 'one of my favourites' and its technique as 'oxyacetylene cut, heat it, belt it, weld it. Then form weld...Heat, oil (linseed) and with a carburizing flame blacken'.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

T03713 HEAD 1952

Forged iron on integral stone base 7 3/8 × 3 1/2 × 4 3/4 (180 × 90 × 110)
Not inscribed
Transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum 1983
Prov: Purchased from the artist by the Department of Circulation, Victoria and Albert Museum 1953 (Circ. 3–1953)
Exh: Annual review of works by artists of gallery Gimpel Fils, Gimpel Fils, summer 1952 (repr. p.13); travelling exhibitions of the Department of Circulation, Victoria and Albert Museum

Geoffrey Clarke made a large number of small forged iron sculptures between 1951 and 1955 in a studio near the Royal College of Art, where he had been a pupil. Many of these were ‘heads’ or ‘masks’, although they were not usually set into a stone base. In some the head was horizontal, as if a stand with objects on it. This design was also printed, as in the Tate Gallery's aquatint ‘Woman and Child’, 1953 (P01010).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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