F.E. McWilliam

Profile

1940

Artist
F.E. McWilliam 1909–1992
Medium
Lignum Vitea
Dimensions
Object: 622 x 178 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1963
Reference
T00599

Not on display

Display caption

During 1939−40, McWilliam made a series of carvings in wood and stone which he entitled The Complete Fragment. ‘These carvings were mostly part or parts of the head, greatly magnified and complete in themselves’, he later explained. ‘They concern the play of solid and void, the solid element being the sculpture itself while the “missing” part inhabits the space around the sculpture’. Carved over a period of six months from a single piece of lignum vitae, Profile was the last work he completed before joining the RAF in 1940.

Gallery label, July 2013

Catalogue entry

T00599 PROFILE 1940

Not inscribed.
Lignum vitae, 24 1/2×7 (62×18), on wooden base, 8×5 1/2×1 1/2 (20×14×4).
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1963.
Exh: Surrealism Today, Zwemmer Gallery, June–July 1940 (18, dated 1939); Arts Council tour, Sculpture in the Home, 1950–1 (32); Paintings and Sculpture, R.W.A., Bristol, May 1958 (116); Arts Council, British Art and the Modern Movement 1930–40, Cardiff, October–November 1962 (104).

The artist told the compiler (18 June 1963) that he worked on this sculpture for some six months and that it was carved from a single piece of lignum vitae. In a letter (24 June 1963) he stated that this was the last work he made before joining the R.A.F. in 1940. It carried on the series of carvings exhibited at the London Gallery in March 1939 which were known as ‘The Complete Fragment’. ‘These carvings were mostly part or parts of the head, greatly magnified and complete in themselves. They concern the play of solid and void, the solid element being the sculpture itself while the “missing” part inhabits the space around the sculpture’. Three stone carvings of 1940–1, also of the same series, are reproduced in Arthur T. Broadbent, Sculpture Today in Great Britain 1940–1943, 1944, pls.22–4.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II