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WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY SCULPTURE TOUR

Mouton Variation

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Mouton VariationArtist - Kenneth Armitage
Born - 1916
Origin - England
Year Built - 1964

About the Artist:  Kenneth Armitage is often considered on the vanguard of British modernism along with such artists as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Lynn Chadwick. Between 1934-37, Armitage studied at the Leeds College of Art, as did Moore and Hepworth. He then attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1937-39. After serving in the British armed forces between 1939-46, he accepted a position as the head of the sculpture department at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, a position he held until 1956. Armitage gained international recognition in the 1950s when he represented Great Britain in the 26th and 30th Venice Biennales in 1952 and 1958, respectively. He was named a commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969.

Throughout his career, Armitage has consistently included figural references in his sculpture. In Mouton Variation, such references are implied largely through the verticality and frontality of the work. Mouton Variation may be a sculpture in the round, yet Armitage has constructed the sculpture with a front and back, most notably through the relief-like flanges. These flanges, which were intended to cast shadows, add distinctive features to the otherwise flat, scarred surface.7 The flanges also differentiate Mouton Variation from other works of this time period. Works such as Pandarus, 1963, and Wall, 1965, employ the strong vertical slab similar to Mouton Variation yet pierce the surface with funnels, creating a visual communication between the two sides of the sculpture. Mouton Variation takes its title from Baron Philippe de Rothschild's Mouton chateau in Bordeaux, France, where the first casting is located.