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(1941 – 2009), United Kingdom

Barry Flanagan Biography

Though he traversed a range of materials throughout his diverse and highly lauded career, Barry Flanagan OBE RA is best known for his distinctive bronze sculptures of animals. His most common motif—the hare—has become a staple of the most esteemed collections and is regularly a part of public art displays world-wide.

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Barry Flanagan was born in 1941 in North Wales, and embraced the physical world of sculpture at the early age of 17. He studied at Birmingham College of Art and then St Martin’s School of Art in London, where he later taught. In the 1960s, he experimented with a variety of unconventional media, such as canvas and sand. He later turned to more permanent materials, such as stone, steel, and bronze.

Barry Flanagan established a name for himself early in his career as a leading artist of Britain’s avantgarde. While still a student, his fabric-and-plaster sculpture aaing j gni aa (1965) was praised for its innovative use of non-traditional materials, and was acquired by Tate in 1969.

Barry Flanagan started creating sculptures of hares in the late 1970s, after witnessing one run on the Sussex Downs, emphasising in his work the animal’s energy and humour. Inspired by Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and French sculptor Auguste Rodin, the artist created the bronze ‘Nijinsky Hare’ series, for which he captured the essence of movement in a resolutely modern style. 

Barry Flanagan took a particular interest in the human-like nature of the hare, with many of the artist’s hare sculptures depicting the creature in a highly anthropomorphic manner. In Empire State with Bowler, Mirrored (1997), a pair of hares with the physique and stance of a human stand on one foot, atop an Empire State Building each.

Barry Flanagan represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1982, and in 1991 he was elected to the Royal Academy and received an OBE. Exhibitions of his work have been held at prestigious institutions such as Fondazione Prada, Milan (2013); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009); and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2006).

The works of Barry Flanagan are held in significant collections, including that of Tate, which on its own holds more than 100 Flanagan pieces. The artist died in 2009 in Ibiza of motor neurone disease. In 2017, the Estate of Barry Flanagan collaborated with Waddington Custot to produce the first comprehensive monograph on the artist.

Biography by Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2020

Barry Flanagan Featured Artworks

View All (11)
Small Nijinski Hare by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganSmall Nijinski Hare, 1992Bronze
68.5 x 25.4 x 38.1 cm
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Waddington Custot
Leaping Hare on Crescent and Bell by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganLeaping Hare on Crescent and Bell, 1988bronze
365.8 x 182.9 x 274.3 cm
Waddington Custot Contact Gallery
The Lack of Civility by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganThe Lack of Civility, 1982Bronze
66.7 x 80 cm
Offer Waterman Contact Gallery
Pasqual by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganPasqual, 1981Pencil on paper
76 x 56.3 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Contact Gallery
Silver Piece by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganSilver Piece, 2006Silver
9 x 17.5 x 8 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Contact Gallery
Transfixed by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganTransfixed, 1994Etching
45 x 37 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Contact Gallery
Double Bell by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganDouble Bell, 1980Bronze, unique
91.5 x 60.5 x 60.5 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Contact Gallery
Carving No.4 by Barry Flanagan contemporary artwork
Barry FlanaganCarving No.4, 1982Travertino Toscano marble
82 x 27 x 27 cm
Kamakura Gallery Contact Gallery

Barry Flanagan Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Barry Flanagan, Alchemy of the Theatre at Waddington Custot, London
Closed
4 March–18 April 2020 Barry Flanagan Alchemy of the Theatre Waddington CustotLondon
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Dialectical Materialism: Aspects of British Sculpture since the 1960s at 1 Park Village East, London
Closed
28 September–6 October 2019 Group Exhibition Dialectical Materialism: Aspects of British Sculpture since the 1960s 1 Park Village East, LondonLondon
Contemporary art exhibition, Barry Flanagan, Solutions imaginaires at Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris, 13 Rue de Téhéran, Paris
Closed
14 March–11 May 2019 Barry Flanagan Solutions imaginaires Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris13 Rue de Téhéran, Paris

Barry Flanagan Represented By

Barry Flanagan In Related Press

Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights Related Press Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights 4 July 2018, Wallpaper*

Between Wimbledon and the FIFA World Cup, there's been plenty of distractions from London's unusually Mediterranean weather of late.

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BARRY FLANAGAN: The Hare is Metaphor Related Press BARRY FLANAGAN: The Hare is Metaphor 5 June 2018, The Brooklyn Rail

The question of poise comes up in different ways when viewing Barry Flanagan's survey at Paul Kasmin Gallery: Strictly sculptural poise (from the ground to the plinth) but also conceptual poise, the balancing act that an artist needs to sometime effect to get their point across. What was Flanagan's position, his body of work balanced on point? In...

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Radical Transformations Related Press Radical Transformations 22 February 2017, Aesthetica Magazine

Kaleidoscope casts fresh perspectives over the creations of the period, bringing into view the relationship between rationality and absurdity, colour and form, order and unruliness. Curated by Sam Cornish and Natalie Rudd, the exhibition draws on collection's holdings, alongside significant loans, for the first retrospective of its kind in over...

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