Dame Elisabeth Frink R.A. (British, 1930-1993) Assassins I  55.9 cm. (22 in.) high (including base)
Lot 3
Dame Elisabeth Frink R.A. (British, 1930-1993) Assassins I 55.9 cm. (22 in.) high (including base)
Sold for £62,400 (US$ 101,871) inc. premium

Lot Details
Dame Elisabeth Frink R.A. (British, 1930-1993)
Assassins I
signed and numbered 'Frink 1/7' (on the base)
bronze with a brown patina
55.9 cm. (22 in.) high (including base)
Conceived in 1963 and cast as an edition of seven

Footnotes

  • LITERATURE:
    Jill Willder (Ed.), Elisabeth Frink Sculpture, Catalogue Raisonné, Harpvale, London, 1984, cat.no.104, p.158 (another cast ill.b&w)

    Since her student days, the theme of birds and flight had been of prime importance to Frink. To Frink, Flight not only alluded to post-war optimism but was also a metaphor for human ambition and the struggle to overcome human limitations. In November 1963 this post-war optimism was shattered when J.F.Kennedy was assassinated. Frink said she 'found it fascinating....It's interesting how things in the news, and things that you had seen, feed into the sculptures, and yet the sculptures form a kind of story of their own, it's as though they follow their own path as well' (quoted in National Life Story Collection, Artists' Lives Dame Elisabeth Frink, interviewed by Sarah Kent).

    Frink only produced two groups of Assassins, shortly after the murder of J.F.Kennedy, but in them she explored and redefined many of the themes prevalent in her sculptures of man. The bird-like quality of the Assassins, with their elongated, spindly legs and half formed wings, suggests the possibility of flight, and yet there is no way they could possibly fly since they are physically stunted. The fusion of their heads and bodies to their armour or uniform also suggests these men are not free; they are bound to their jobs and their duty, even if it is to carry out a merciless murder. And yet, despite the helmets or hoods which mask their identity, Frink imbues them with a certain pathos which suggests they are conscious of their actions and their moral responsibilities. In Assassins, Frink explores the darker side of human ambition and the desire for power. As Sarah Kent has commented, 'Frink makes no distinction between one form of murder and another. These sculptures assert that there can be no excuses for cruelty - no 'just' wars.' (Jill Willder, Elisabeth Frink Sculpture, Catalogue Raisonné, Harpvale, London, 1984, p.60).

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the provenance should read: With Waddington Galleries, London, December 1963, where acquired by the family of the present owner.
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