Two Women, 1943
b. 1886, London, England
d. 1963, London, England
Born in London, Frank Dobson was a British sculptor, and the son of a commercial artist of the same name. From 1902–04, Dobson worked under the tutelage of William Reynolds-Stephens. During this early phase of his career, Dobson primarily produced paintings influenced by cubism and futurism, and he received his first solo show at the Chenil Gallery in London in 1914 with the help of Augustus John. After the First World War, Dobson focused on sculpture, and gained increasing success as a pioneer of modern British sculpture. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale in both 1924 and in 1926.
Finding consistent inspiration in the female, Dobson produced monumental works drawing on a variety of sources, including the work of Aristide Maillol and African sculpture. Dobson’s training as a painter is evident in his sketches, which were generally intended as studies for three-dimensional works. He stylized full-figured, female bodies with sweeping gestures and added blocks of watercolor over or around the subjects. Dobson’s modeling skills are also apparent in his red chalk drawings, such as Two Women (1943), created by layering and smudging the medium around the page. Although Dobson’s simplified, female forms eventually fell out of favor with the British avant-garde’s shift towards abstraction, his works retain a sense of living, breathing humanity.