Kenneth Armitage Centenary Sculpture Exhibition


Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery celebrates the work of Kenneth Armitage (1916-2002), in a new exhibition which will run from 10 September – 27 November 2016. 

Kenneth Armitage is an artist intimately connected with Bath, and this exhibition will mark the centenary of his birth. 

This major retrospective exhibition is being staged exclusively in Bath and will feature over 65 works – sculptures in bronze and plaster of single figures, figure groups, arms, legs and trees (some on a monumental scale), together with paintings and drawings from all phases of Armitage’s career.

People in the Wind, 1950 (bronze)
People in the Wind, 1950 (bronze) by Kenneth Armitage, (1916-2002) © Victoria Art Gallery

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, which runs the gallery, said: “Kenneth Armitage played an important part in Bath’s artistic history and we’re delighted to be hosting this retrospective exhibition. Admission to see this renowned artists is free for local residents who have a Discovery Card.”

Armitage sought through his work to achieve an understanding of the underlying structures of living things. He studied at Leeds College of Art followed by the Slade School of Fine Art, London. After serving in the army from 1939-46, he became Head of Sculpture at Bath Academy of Art, based at Corsham Court, nine miles east of Bath, where he remained for 10 years.

In 1952 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, exhibiting alongside the sculptors Lynn Chadwick, Bernard Meadows, Reg Butler and Eduardo Paolozzi. The group were described by critic Herbert Read as the ‘Geometry of Fear’ school because of their use of sharp angular forms in metal. The show sealed Armitage’s reputation as a member of the new generation of post-war British sculptors. 

The exhibition has been made possible by the Kenneth Armitage Foundation and a grant from the Henry Moore Foundation. It will feature loans from the Government Art Collection, Tate, the British Council, the Royal Academy and other prestigious public institutions.

There will be lunchtime exhibition tours every Thursday, 15 September to 10 November inclusive, 12.30pm to 1pm.

The Gallery is open daily 10.30am to 5pm and offers free admission to the city’s public art collection, which spans 1600 to the present day and is displayed in the first floor galleries. Tickets for the Kenneth Armitage exhibition cost £4 (free for local Discovery Card holders).

A new book, ‘Kenneth Armitage, Sculptor: A Centenary Celebration’, will be published by Samson and Co to coincide with the show.