Modern British & Irish Art

The Sculptural Sensations of Allen Jones

By Robin Cawdron-Stewart

R ocketed to fame in the 1960s, Allen Jones is today one of the most recognised and celebrated artists working in Britain. A senior academician at the Royal Academy, Jones is as well known for his sculptures as his paintings, which typically draw inspiration from the human form. Jones’ work is celebrated as part of Sotheby’s forthcoming Made In Britain/Online auction, pitting him alongside contemporaries such as David Hockney and Peter Blake, and looking at the vibrant British art scene over the course of the past half a century.

Allen Jones, 1976. Photograph by Jorge Lewinski. © The Lewinski Archive at Chatsworth / Bridgeman Images

Born in Southampton in 1937, Jones had an interest in art from an early age, attending Hornsey College of Art and later the Royal College of Art, where he counted R.B Kitaj, Peter Phillips, David Hockney and Derek Boshier as contemporaries. His time spent at the RCA was brief, being expelled in 1960 at the end of his first year for his radical attitudes.

"I wanted to kick over the traces of what was considered acceptable in art. I wanted to find a new language for representation... to get away from the idea that figurative art was romantic, that it wasn't tough."

Becoming well known in the 1960s for his controversial ‘furniture’ pieces, Jones works across the medium of sculpture, painting and printmaking, awarding equal importance to each.

Allen Jones, Studies for Glass Sculpture. Estimate £2,000–3,000.

His work was recently celebrated in a major retrospective held at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, spanning from early works through to his most recent sculptures and paintings, depicting well known figures such as Kate Moss and Dame Darcey Bussell. But it was his large-scale painted steel sculptures that really stole the show, clustered together and fusing his painterly and sculptural approaches.

Allen Jones, Free Spirit, 1999. Estimate £2,000–3,000.

These sculptures effortlessly capture the vitality of human life, as seen in his 1999 Free Spirit sculpture, offered in Made In Britain/Online, which is open for bidding from the 16–26 November.

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