Michael Ayrton (British, 1921-1975) Triptych III: Emerging Figure 160 cm. (63 in.) wide (overall) (in three parts)
Lot 81AR W
Michael Ayrton
(British, 1921-1975)
Triptych III: Emerging Figure 160 cm. (63 in.) wide (overall) (in three parts)
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 28,596) inc. premium

Lot Details
Michael Ayrton (British, 1921-1975)
Triptych III: Emerging Figure
each part numbered '2/6' (at the base)
bronze with a brown patina
160 cm. (63 in.) wide (overall)
(in three parts)
Conceived in 1966-7 in an edition of 6 of which only 3 were cast

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Exhibited
    London, Grosvenor Gallery, Michael Ayrton, 7 June-2 July 1966, cat.no.24 (another cast)
    Chicago, Seavs Vincent Price Gallery, Michael Ayrton, October-November 1967, cat.no.17 (another cast)
    Chicago, Seavs Vincent Price Gallery, Michael Ayrton, April-May 1969, cat.no.8 (another cast)
    Chicago, Seavs Vincent Price Gallery, Michael Ayrton, 1970, cat.no.6 (another cast)
    Chicago, R.S. Johnson International Gallery, Michael Ayrton, The Maze, November 1972, cat.no.20 (another cast)

    Literature
    C.P. Snow, Drawings and Sculpture by Michael Ayrton, Cory, Adams & Mckay, London, 1962, rev.ed. 1966, pl.206 (ill.b&w, another cast)
    Jacob Nyenhuis, Myth and the Creative Process; Michael Ayrton and the Myth of Daedalus, the Maze Maker, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 2003, p.274, cat.no.618

    The Emerging Figure series was part of Ayrton's exploration of the Maze and the condition of being "mazed" which preoccupied him through the later part of the 1960s, culminating in the novel "The Maze Maker" (1967), and the building of the full-scale Arkville Maze in the Catskills in 1969. The figures are patinated to move from dark, almost black, for the first figure to golden-brown for the final, fully emerged man, who holds back the walls of the maze from which he has, at least temporarily, struggled free. Ayrton saw the maze as a metaphysical as well as a physical construct; something which 'each man builds around himself in the course of his life ... at the centre of which lies his death. To escape is to return, wishing to return.'

    The question of whether the figures are the same man at different stages, or different men, unaware of each other, is part of the ambiguity of the maze condition as Ayrton came to understand it.

    We are grateful to Dr. Justine Hopkins for compiling this catalogue entry.
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