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(1922 – 2012), United Kingdom

William Turnbull Biography

William Turnbull (b. 1922, Dundee, Scotland; d. 2012, London, England) was a Scottish sculptor and painter. He is known for figurative and minimalist sculpture, as well as abstract painting. Early disappointment with the British art world, the Slade School of Art in particular, led Turnbull to move to Paris in the late 1940s. There he met Brancusi and Giacometti whose influence remained with him when he returned to London in 1950. Turnbull became a key member of the 'Independent Group' of artists, writers, and architects working at the ICA, which included Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi. By focusing art on the realities of the modern world, the 'Independent Group' was a major influence on British Pop Art. In his sculpture, Turnbull forges a tension between balance, movement and stillness, informed by his time as an RAF pilot in the Indian subcontinent during the war. The experience of flying, 'primitive' art, ancient Greek sculpture and other sources greatly shaped Turnbull's desire to locate, form and transmit elemental energy through his work. In Britain, Turnbull personifies the post-war break with academic tradition and romanticism; henceforth art could draw on direct expression, popular culture and ancient references.

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Turnbull's first one-man exhibition was held at the Hanover Gallery, London (1950). He represented Britain in a group exhibition at the Venice Biennale (1952) and has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions both in Britain and internationally. In 1973, a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Tate Gallery, London, and in 1982 he took part in British Sculpture in the Twentieth century at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. He had a retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery, London (1995-96) and a major solo exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2005) and the Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain in 2006. In 2013, Chatsworth House hosted a large exhibition of Turnbull's paintings, drawings and sculptures.

William Turnbull Featured Artworks

View All (11)
Untitled (Leaf Study 2) by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullUntitled (Leaf Study 2), 1974Watercolour on paper
39.1 x 29.7 cm
On Hold
Offer Waterman
Untitled (Leaf Study 3) by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullUntitled (Leaf Study 3), 1974Watercolour on paper
39.1 x 29.7 cm
On Hold
Offer Waterman
Untitled (Tree Study 3) by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullUntitled (Tree Study 3), 1974Watercolour on paper
39.4 x 29.8 cm
Offer Waterman Contact Gallery
Untitled (Tree Study 5) by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullUntitled (Tree Study 5), 1974Watercolour on paper
39.4 x 29.8 cm
Offer Waterman Contact Gallery
Untitled (Leaf Study 4) by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullUntitled (Leaf Study 4), 1974Watercolour on paper
39.1 x 29.7 cm
On Hold
Offer Waterman
Eve 1 by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullEve 1, 1959Bronze and East Indian (Sonokeling) Rosewood
156.2 x 38.1 cm
Waddington Custot Contact Gallery
Horse by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullHorse, 1999Bronze
181.5 x 73.6 x 205.1 cm
Sold
Waddington Custot
Sculpture by William Turnbull contemporary artwork
William TurnbullSculpture, 1956Bronze
147.3 x 38.1 x 124.5 cm
Karsten Schubert London Contact Gallery

William Turnbull Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, William Turnbull, Figures and Natural Forms at Offer Waterman, London
Closed
4 January–28 February 2021 William Turnbull Figures and Natural Forms Offer WatermanLondon
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, William Turnbull, New Worlds, Words, Signs at Offer Waterman, London
Closed
29 September–3 November 2017 William Turnbull New Worlds, Words, Signs Offer WatermanLondon

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