Celebrating Eduardo Paolozzi | A Pioneer of Pop Art in Britain

Celebrating Eduardo Paolozzi | A Pioneer of Pop Art in Britain

In 2024 we celebrate the centenary of the birth of sculptor and printmaker Eduardo Paolozzi. Widely believed to be a pioneer of the Pop Art movement in Britain, Paolozzi’s work reflects his interest in the influence of popular culture and the mass media on everyday life.

13 March 2024

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Born to Italian parents in Edinburgh in 1924, he went on to study at the Edinburgh College of Art, Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and later at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Paolozzi was heavily influenced by the early principles of the Surrealism and Cubism. His work has reoccurring themes of mechanisation, urbanisation, and modern technology; exploring the relationship between humans and machinery and pairing disparate imagery and disjoined forms.

 

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi RA (1924-2005) 'Queen of the Night' screenprint in colours, signed and dated 'Eduardo Paolozzi 1990' in pencil l.r., numbered '23/200', printed at Advanced Graphics on 250gsm Vélin Arches blanc, part of the Mozart Portfolio published by Merivale Editions, London image 40 x 31cm (£200-300)

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi RA (1924-2005) 'Queen of the Night' screenprint in colours, signed and dated 'Eduardo Paolozzi 1990' in pencil l.r., numbered '23/200', printed at Advanced Graphics on 250gsm Vélin Arches blanc, part of the Mozart Portfolio published by Merivale Editions, London image 40 x 31cm (£200-300)

 

Paolozzi’s most recognisable work is perhaps his bronze sculpture of Newton, created with thoughts of William Blake’s late 18th century print, which resides in the forecourt of the British Library. His work proliferates in London; another significant contribution are the Tottenham Court Road Tube Station mosaics. Paolozzi approached this latter commission with acute attention to the experience of the art from the perspective of passers-by, under the variety of conditions in which they might experience it. In a 1983 lecture at the University of Oxford, Paolozzi elaborated on his thinking about the designs for the mosaics, in which he looked to reflect the soundscape (note the saxophone included in the work) and the history of surrounding buildings; some of the mosaic invokes the Turkish baths nearby to the station. He was desirous of designing the mosaics to provide impact in both crowded rush hour settings and for the lonely late-night user. 

 

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi RA (1924-2005) Head bronze 5cm wide 3cm deep 8cm high (£200-300)

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi RA (1924-2005) Head bronze 5cm wide 3cm deep 8cm high (£200-300)



In addition to thoughtfully shaping our experience of London, Paolozzi is the progenitor of Pop Art. His 1947 I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything is considered the foundational work, and indeed also the first to include the word ‘Pop’ as part of its composition. The same instinct which provokes Paolozzi’s dedication to incorporate elements of the immediate surrounds of Tottenham Court Road Station into the fabric of his mosaic design is invoked in Pop Art; it is a conscious acknowledgement of life as art in and of itself, worthy of commemoration. Pop Art thingifies the world around us as having intrinsic artistic value, as being the product of thoughtful design, and Paolozzi successfully captures this movement in his work.

 

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi RA (1924-2005) Abstract machine pencil 14 x 20cm (£300-400)

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi RA (1924-2005) Abstract machine pencil 14 x 20cm (£300-400)

 

Sworders are pleased to offer seven works by the artist in our April Modern & Contemporary sale, each of varying technique. We have a screenprint, a unique hand coloured offset lithograph, pencil drawings, plaster casts and a small bronze sculpture. Six of the works have come directly from his family, so have impeccable provenance.

 


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Tuesday 9 April | 10am

pictures@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778

 

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