2017-11-22-2017-11-18 --- 2017-11-18 06:30:43--18
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LOT :115
Frederick E. McWilliam HRUA RA (1909-1992)
Crossed Legs (1978)
Bronze, 38 x 40 x 28cm (15 x 15¾ x 11'')
Estimate EUR : €10,000.00 - €15,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017

Description

Frederick E. McWilliam HRUA RA (1909-1992)
Crossed Legs (1978)
Bronze, 38 x 40 x 28cm (15 x 15¾ x 11'')
Signed with initials and numbered 4/5
Cast by the Fiorini Foundry

Plaster maquette, collection of F.E.McWilliam Gallery and Studio; edition 1/5, coll. Ulster Museum, Belfast, purchased 1980.

 

Provenance: edition 4/5, purchased from the artists studio by the present owners, 1981.

 

Literature: McWilliams notebook, work is numbered 78.10, ie the 10th work of 1978. When he embarked on his series of of Legs 1977 1981, he began the practice of making small accurate sketches of each work beside his notebook entry, which was not just for his won identification, but for the foundries, in this case the Fiorini Foundry, with whom he worked closely. The Sculpture of F.E.McWilliam Ferran & Holman, Lund Humphries, 2012.

 

Exhibited: 'FE McWilliam', Taylor Gallery Dublin 1979; 'FE McWilliam Retrospective', the Arts Councils of Northern Ireland, 1981, cat. no. 143; exhibition tour, Ulster Museum, Belfast, April - May; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, May June; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, July August. Tate Gallery, 1989, cat. no. 64, illus. p. 63; Beaux Arts, Bath, 1991; Shambles Gallery, Hillsborough, Co. Down, 2003; Inaugural exhibition at the F.E.McWilliam Gallery & Studio, 2008, exh.cat., illus. p.110.

 

Women of Belfast and Woman in a Bomb Blast were a highly charged response by McWilliam to the devastating bombs in Belfast and in particular the bombing of the Abercorn restaurant in 1971. This series was followed by the Banners which again focused on the Northern Ireland problems, a series instigated by the Peace People, mainly women, including his longtime friend Sheelagh Flanagan and many others, who marched for peace.

 

After five years, reacting through his work to the effect of politics, McWilliam or Mac as he was, affectionately called, by his friends, turned for respite to the subject matter he loved most, the beauty and form of female legs. The walls of his studio in Holland Park had many photographs of female forms, especially legs, some from Selfridges advertisements for ladies tights. The capriciousness of McWilliams imagination, used the subject of womens legs as a means to create movement, beauty and intrigue. His observation of Indian carvings, especially in the temples of Orissa, which he studied first hand, informed him that the entire human form did not need to be present to give meaning to the subject. His return to the Surrealist idea of complete fragment and his use of legs, to convey this, as here in Crossed Legs provides all the sensuality, smoothness and playfulness, as ever associated with the subject, stopping short of eroticism. His ability to give meaning in every foot movement and toe position portrays his love of fun and admiration for the female form. His friendship with the Dublin born ballerina, Ninette de Valois (1898 2001) founder of the Royal Ballet, whose portrait he carved in 1963, influenced him greatly, leading to his love of ballet and an appreciation of such an exacting art form in which arm and leg movement were paramount. Feet were important to McWilliam as a means to express emotions whether terror in Women of Belfast which to him were the women as victims of mans stupidity or the joy, anticipation and excitement in Crossed Legs.

 

Denise Ferran

October 2017

 

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