Wild Thing: Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill
24 October 2009—24 January 2010
In The Sackler Wing of Galleries, Burlington House
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Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, 'Red Stone Dancer', c.1913. Red Mansfield stone, 35 x 60 x 40 cm. Tate, London. Photo ©Tate, London 2009
Over a period of 10 years from 1905 to 1915, three outstanding young sculptors emerged in Britain; Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Eric Gill. The radical impact of their work was to transform British sculpture.
This exhibition is the first time that the three artists have been shown together in this revolutionary context and many of the works have not been exhibited in London before.
The exhibition contains more than 90 works featuring mainly sculptures, drawings and pastels. With rooms dedicated to the work of each sculptor the exhibition focuses on the key achievements of each artist and reveals their impact on British sculpture. The show brings together spectacular works, including Epstein’s robotic masterpiece Rock Drill, Gaudier-Brzeska’s innovative carving of Birds Erect, and Gill’s controversial carving of the sexual act called Ecstasy.
The title of this exhibition is taken from the American poet Ezra Pound, who vividly remembered meeting Henri Gaudier-Brzeska for the first time in 1913. Pound was impressed by the young Frenchman, and likened him to “a well-made young wolf or some soft-moving, bright-eyed wild thing.” But those last two words also sum up the feisty and daring spirit of rebellion driving the young Jacob Epstein and Eric Gill.
This unprecedented exhibition explores the body of work executed by the three sculptors and
draws on the major themes that impressed upon the men, namely sex, fertility, the human
condition, the machine age and the impact of war. The works convey the momentous sense of
change taking place in London and the world at the start of the twentieth century.
Wild Thing: Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The exhibition has been curated by historian Richard Cork, a leading expert on this period and Adrian Locke, Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Objects eligible for protection under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007