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Robert Adams
b. 1917, Northampton, England
d. 1984, Maplestead (Essex), England

 

Robert Adams was an English sculptor and designer. He studied at the Northampton School of Art from 1933 to 1944, and after the war, Adams dedicated two years to honing his skills and teaching himself to sculpt—primarily in wood. Adams’s first solo exhibition of sculpture was in 1947 at Gimpel Fils, which represented the sculptor throughout his career. Following that exhibition, Adams traveled to Paris, where he became acquainted with the work of Constantin Brâncuși and Julio González, whose influences led to a greater simplicity of form in his work.

 

In 1949, Adams encountered Victor Pasmore and the British Constructivists (including artists Adrian Heath, Anthony Hill, Kenneth Martin, and Mary Martin) as a result of his teaching post at the Central School of Art and Design in London. Adams held this post until 1960, and between 1951 and 1956, he exhibited with the Constructivists. However, content with his focus on shape and form, he dismissed their commitment to math and science. Towards the end of his life, Adams worked primarily in bronze casts.

 

Adams was included in the British Pavilions at the Venice Biennale in 1952 and 1962, and participated in the groundbreaking This is Tomorrow exhibition at The Whitechapel Gallery in 1956. In response to a retrospective of his work put on by Gimpel Fils in 1993, the critic Brian Glasser wrote that Adams was “the neglected genius of post-war British sculpture.” Today, Adams’s sculptures can be found at the Arts Council Collection; the Tate Gallery, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. Additionally, Adams has permanent large-scale installations at the BP House in London and the Kingswell in Hampstead.