'Study for Laocoon 1' Michael Ayrton 1921 – 1975

'Study for Laocoon 1' Michael Ayrton 1921 – 1975

Stock Number: 13099/GSO
Height 28.50cm [11.22 inches]
Width 43.00cm [16.93 inches]

Artist's Resale Right applies @ plus 4%

Pencil and Watercolour
Signed and inscribed
Date September 10, 1968
Michael Ayrton 10 / 9 / 68 Laocoon 1

Gift from the Artist’s Sketchbook

Born Michael Ayrton Gould, he was variously; a painter, a writer, a printmaker, a poet, an illustrator, a sculptor, a set designer, a critic, a broadcaster and a novelist. Ayrton, Obviously very clever, was equally opinionated and conflicted ‘I am very ambitious and self-confident – but suffer grave doubts most of the time’. At 14 he was expelled declaring ‘he was to be an artist’ soon enrolling at the St. John’s Wood Art School. │ During the War, having previously travelled to Spain to enlist (Republicans/rejected for being under age) and on conscription (RAF/discharged due to ill health) Ayrton, with John Minton, designed sets and costumes for John Gielgud’s 1940/1 Macbeth and as a ‘Neo-Romantic’ artist visited Graham Sutherland in Wales. After the War he was free to travel to Italy to paint, write and draw. Subsequently, as his interest in sculpture grew, Ayrton moved in 1952 to Essex where, with no formal training bar studying the masters and receiving some technical advice from Henry Moore, he started to sculpt. A visit to Greece in 1958 was instrumental in stimulating a lifelong
fascination with Greek Mythology and a ‘need to make sculptures to release his drawings’. │ In this sketch we can see the powerful figure of the Trojan priest ‘Laocoon’ reinterpreted as a figure struggling in torment, questing even, for his own identity. │ ‘Every maze is therefore different, for each is personal and yet various. Each is a prison and a sanctuary, a journey and a destination... it contains him wholly and he extends it all his life’. │ As an illustrator his works include Wyndham Lewis’s ‘The Human Age’ trilogy, as a writer ‘The Maze Maker’ and ‘Aspects of British Art’. His work is held at the Tate and MOMA and he has had three retrospective exhibitions.