Robert Adams (1917 - 1984)
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Cloaked Figure by Robert Adams
Cloaked Figure. c.1946-7 Sold
Studies for Sculpture by Robert Adams
Studies for Sculpture. 1956


English sculptor and painter. He studied at the Northampton School of Art from 1933 to 1944. During World War II he was employed as an engineer, and after the war he spent two years teaching himself to sculpt in wood. He also produced abstract paintings, but soon came to specialise in sculpture. These comprised forms abstracted from natural objects, executed in wood, plaster and stone.

In 1949 Adams had begun to work with metal. He came into contact with Victor Pasmore and with the group of artists around him, which included Adrian Heath, Anthony Hill, Kenneth Martin and Mary Martin. The group acted as a forum for Constructivist ideas in Britain and Adams exhibited with them from 1951 to 1956. He was sympathetic to the group's aim of forging a link between art and architecture.

While teaching at the Central School, Adams learnt how to weld and in 1955 began to produce constructions of sheet and rod elements. At the Veniece Biennale of 1962 Adams had a one-man exhibition in which his works were a series of 'Screens' made from welded segments of sheet steel coated with a dark finish. Commissions followed throughout the 1960s, mostly executed in steel. He continued to use welded steel until the end of the 1960s, when he returned abruptly to carving. The majority of his final works are small bronzes cast from carved wood patterns, although there are also some large architectural works in stainless steel.

In the 1970s, and until his death, Adams concentrated on bronze casts. Among his later public works was the large steel sculpture for Kingswell in Hampstead (1973) designed from a simple Minimalist form. Among his major commissions were a large concrete relief for the Municipal Theatre, Gelsenkirchen, Germany (1959), and reliefs for the liners 'Canberra' and 'Transvaal Castle' (1961).