'Reclining Nude' Leon Underwood 1890 – 1975

'Reclining Nude' Leon Underwood 1890 – 1975

Height 38.00cm [14.96 inches]
Width 56.00cm [22.05 inches]

Artist's Resale Right applies @ 4%

Graphene and Watercolour

Signed and Dated
Leon Underwood 32

A deceased Estate

Leon Underwood 1890 – 1975
An artist yes but more a Renaissance man of the arts,
Underwood was a sculptor who cast his own bronzes
as well as carving in wood and stone. He was a teacher,
opening in 1921 the Brook Green School of Art in
Hammersmith, numbering Gertrude Hermes, Henry
Moore and later Barbara Hepworth in his drawing
and other classes. He was also a writer (Bronzes of
West Africa), a painter, a printmaker, an illustrator, an
archeologist, a maker of furniture and stained glass
(Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Oxfordshire),
a publisher (The Island), a traveller, a craftsman, a
philosopher and in both Wars, a camoufleur. │ It is
though as one of the forgotten founders of Modern
British Sculpture that we should see him now. His
sculpture was deeply informed by ‘the primitive’
with ‘forms created by inspired belief’. His work was
invariably based on the human shape, as can be seen
here with this drawing from a key period between the
Wars, showing clearly (for example the almond eyes) the
influence of his travels in 1928 through Mexico. He did
however not follow the path of many to abstraction for
he saw it as ‘artfully making emptiness less conspicuous’,
rather pithy I thought! │ It is said that Underwood’s way
of being, his intellectual imperative, was not to conform
to a mono-directional artist stereotype, and his wish not
to specialise, not to comply, led him to constantly move
on and never wait around for self-aggrandising accolades
– to quote ‘the artist is the sower who at the harvest
time is over the horizon – on his way to sow new
ground’. It is however these very qualities that led his
reputation to be diluted to the point of an undeserved
footnote. His reputation now like spring barley is
glowing once more.