1002Elisabeth Jean Frink (British, 1930-1993). Bronze portrait bust of Bob Willoughby, 1957. Signed and dated "Frink 57" on sitter's collar. A bronze bust of photographer Bob Willoughby by Elisabeth Frink, an English sculptor who discovered her love for Renaissance sculpture as a teenager when, being the daughter of an army officer, she lived in Trieste, Italy and traveled to Venice. Frink and Willoughby were good friends in the 1950s. Willoughby found Frink's work to be "powerful and important" and asked her to create this bronze bust for his mother. Frink's rendering of Willoughby presents him in a classic shirt and tie with his short wavy coiffure forming a v-shaped widow's peak at the center of his forehead. His visage is veristic with naturalistic features and a pensive expression. Most wonderfully, Frink's signature textured surfaces connote the undeniable creative energy of her talented subject and friend. Size: 12.875" H (32.7 cm); 15.875" H (40.3 cm) on included custom stand.
Dame Elisabeth Jean Frink attended the Guildford School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art, studying under John Berger (1926-2017), Ceri Richards (1903-1971), and Julian Trevelyan (1910-1988). Her work came to be associated with artists Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) and Kenneth Armitage (1916-2002) who were known as The Geometry of Fear sculptors (a term coined by critic Herbert Read). "These supposedly angst-ridden artists bridged the gap between 1930s geometric idealism and post-war existentialism." Frink associated with contemporary artists Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, John Minton, and Michael Andrews in London pubs during the evenings and "held wild parties in her shared flat in Chelsea" (source: Christie's "Artist guide: Elisabeth Frink" - 14 September 2020). Frink's sculptures are on view throughout the world. These include her famous "Warhorse" at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire as well as "Eagle" which was commissioned as a lectern for Coventry Cathedral.
Bob Willoughby has been described as "…the man who virtually invented the photojournalistic motion picture still" by Popular Photography. A pioneer of 20th century photography, he is best known for being a "link between the filmmakers and major magazines of the time, such as Life and Look" (source: The Bob Willoughby Photo Archive website). Willoughby studied film at the University of Southern California (USC) Cinema Department and design at the Kahn Institute of Art. He also apprenticed with famous Hollywood photographers such as Paul Hesse, Glenn Embree, and Wallace Seawell. Willoughby documented a golden era of cinema, shooting on the sets of A Star is Born, The Graduate, Rosemary's Baby, My Fair Lady, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to name a few. In addition to capturing such Hollywood legends like Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn, Willoughby had an immense appreciation for jazz and created a wonderful series portraying jazz musicians. Furthermore, his honors were numerous and his work has been collected internationally by esteemed museums and institutions. According to the Bob Willoughby Photo Archive, "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood honored Willoughby with a major retrospective exhibition of his work. He was awarded the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Still Photography in New York in 2004. His photographs are in the permanent collections of The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; The National Portrait Gallery, London; The National Museum of Photography, Bradford, UK; Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, Film Department, New York; The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Gallery Collection, London; Theatre de la Photographie et de l'Image, Nice; and Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium."
This piece is illustrated on page 200 of Elizabeth Frink's catalogue raisonne (Harpvale, 1984).
Elisabeth Frink's bronze bust entitled "Soldier" (1963) sold for $42,486 (30,000 GBP) at Woolley & Wallis on May 11, 2021 - lot 265, and her bronze bust entitled "Green Man" (1991) sold for $82,078 (65,000 GBP) at Christie's UK on July 14, 2020 - lot 116. Perhaps the highest hammer price for a Frink bronze sculpture was her "Seated Man" which hammered for $1,530,450 at Christie's London on June 25, 2014 - lot 10.
This piece has been searched against the Art Loss Register database and has been cleared. The Art Loss Register maintains the world’s largest database of stolen art, collectibles, and antiques.
Provenance: private Washington, USA collection
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids. PLEASE NOTE:
Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany.
For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.
Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.
Bronze bust is in excellent condition. Signed and dated "Frink 57" on the collar. It sits on an attractive tiered wooden base, but is also removeable from the stand.