Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)
Dimensions:L: 39cm (15.4")
SUMMER DEMETER 1967
Bronze, Edition of 9 plus two artists’ copies.
Artists Copy, marked AC
The Greek goddess, Demeter was the goddess of the grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment, who presided over the fertility of the earth. She is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest but she presided over the cycle of life and death. In this sculpture she is shown in her summer guise, representing the hope of a fruitful harvest.
An artist and writer, renowned as a painter, printmaker, sculptor and designer, also as a broadcaster and novelist. His body of work reveals an obsession with flight, myths, mirrors and mazes.
He was also a stage and costume designer, working with John Minton on the 1942 John Gielgudproduction of Macbeth at the age of nineteen, and a book designer and illustrator for Wyndham Lewis's 'The Human Age'trilogy. An exhibition, 'Word and Image' 1971, organised with Wyndham Lewis, explored their literary and artistic connections> He also collaborated with Constant Lambert and William Golding
In his teens during the 1930s he studied art at Heatherley School of Fine Art and st John's Wood Art School, then in Paris under Eugene Berman, where he shared a studio with John Minton. He travelled to Spain and attempted to enlist on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War but was rejected for being under-age.
In the 1940s, Ayrton participated in the BBC's popular radio programme The Brains Trust
In the mid 1950’s Ayrton turned to sculpture, he was advised on technique by his friend Henry Moore who encouraged his early efforts, influenced by his visits to Rome where he saw the renaissance masters, he also took influence from more recent sculptors, Rodin and Giocometti.
Beginning in 1961, Ayrton wrote and created many works associated with the myths of the Minotour and Daedalus, the legendary inventor and maze builder, including bronze sculptures and the pseudo-autobiographical novel The Maze Maker 1967. He also was the author of several non-fiction works on fine art, including Aspects of British Art 1947.
Ayrton has had retrospectives at The Wakefield, 1949 and The Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1955,
In 1977, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery organised a major retrospective exhibition of his work which subsequently went on tour
His work is represented in several public collections including the Tate Gallery London. National Portrait Gallery, London. Museum of Modern Art New York, New York. Fry Art Gallery, Essex.