Ghisha Koenig
The Machine Minders 1956

Artwork details

Ghisha Koenig 1921–1993
The Machine Minders
Date 1956
Medium Terracotta, metal and wood
Dimensions Object: 1300 x 1060 x 600 mm, 167.5 kg (Gross 440kg)
Acquisition Purchased 1986
Not on display

Display caption

Koenig's principal subjects were people at work. This sculpture represents two men minding vats at an ink factory in Kent, one of six factories which Koenig visited regularly between 1956-7. The figures are approximately half life-size. She developed the sculpture from drawings made from life, firstly by making a clay model in her studio. Her choice of working class subjects links Koenig with 'Kitchen Sink' painters such as Jack Smith, who depicted the harsh realities of life in post-war Britain. But Koenig also belonged to a community of artist émigrés, including Josef Herman, who drew on a tradition of European realism.

September 2004

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