Evolution of the Minotaur signed and numbered 'MA 3/3' (on the base) bronze with a grey/light green patina 170 cm. (67 in.) high Conceived in 1963-4
PROVENANCE: The artist's family With Bruton Gallery, Bruton, Somerset, where purchased by the present owner Private Collection, Melbourne
EXHIBITED: London, The Grosvenor Gallery, Michael Ayrton, Bronzes, Paintings, Collages and Drawings 1962-1964, April-May 1964, cat.no.7 (another cast) London, Tate Gallery, British Sculpture in the Sixties, 25 February-4 April 1965, no.8 (another cast) London, Austin Desmond Fine Art, Recurring Themes and Images: Retrospective 1939 - 1975, December 1990 - January 1991, no.45 (another cast)
LITERATURE: Charles P. Snow, Michael Ayrton, Drawings and Sculpture, Cory, Adams & Mackay, 1966, no.142 (another cast ill.b&w.) Michael Ayrton, Michael Ayrton: the maze: bronzes, drawings, etchings, 1962-1972, R.S Johnson International Gallery, Chicago, Winter 1972 Peter Cannon-Brookes, Michael Ayrton, An Illustrated Commentary, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, 1978, no.160, p.92 (another cast ill.b&w) Justine Hopkins, Michael Ayrton: A Biography, Andre Deutsch, London, 1994, p.293 Jacob E. Nyenhuis, Myth and the Creative Process: Michael Ayrton and the Myth of Daedalus, the Maze Maker, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 2003, p.119 & 121 (another cast ill.)
Following a visit to Italy in 1947, Ayrton's paintings became more sculptural, until with some practical guidance from Henry Moore, he began to sculpt and cast in bronze. Working trips to Italy and Greece immersed him in the ancient classical myths, particularly that of Daedalus, Icarus and the Minotaur in its labyrinth. He continued to explore these myths in his art for the rest of his career.
Ayrton's Minotaurs become more tragic the more human they are. The anguish and plight of this half-man half-beast is tangible in the present lot. It has been described as the 'climax' of the group he made using a gorilla-like head as opposed to a bull. With arms raised and covering his eyes, the minotaur bares teeth in a painfully silent scream. The sheer presence of this lifesize work demands an emotive response in the viewer, more than any other.
Please note that a copy of the certificate of authenticity from the Michael Ayrton estate is also available with this lot.