Lot 1
  • 1

Phillip King

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  • Phillip King
  • Slant
  • painted steel
  • 179 by 487 by 190cm., 70½ by 191¾ by 74¾in.


Tim Hilton, The Sculpture of Phillip King, London, 1992, p. 112, colour illustration of the arborite version pl. 10

Catalogue Note

Phillip King is a leading proponent of a group of young British sculptors who, under the guidance of Sir Anthony Caro, came to critical and public attention in the 1960s for their bold abstract forms executed in strong, industrial colours; the sculptors were known as The New Generation.

King was born and raised in Tunis, near Carthage. He went to Christ’s College, Cambridge to study Modern Languages, only to find himself drawn towards sculpting instead. During his time at university he made some fifty clay models of varying sizes. In a bold and ambitious move, he posted a return train ticket from London to Cambridge to highly respected artist and teacher, Anthony Caro, inviting him to come and see his amateur work. Caro, perhaps charmed by the audacity of the young languages student, duly visited; on inspecting King's clay models, Caro prompty offered him a place to study art at his school, St Martins. From here, King worked as an assistant to Henry Moore and learnt how a sculptor might deliberate for hours on the slightest adjustments of form and composition.

Slant is striking for the fineness of its angles. The discreet shapes could be reassembled into one open sheet with a fold in the middle. Instead they sit on top of one another and overlay continuously, at once opposing and concordant. Despite the potential offered by the durability of arborite, the model's original material, the declination from the vertical is judged to appear balanced and poised.

In 2010, Phillip King was awarded the Life Time Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Center and two years later he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cambridge – the highest honour that the University is able to bestow. King is one of two artists in the Beyond Limits exhibition who has served as the President of the Royal Academy.