Ivor Abrahams was born in Wigan, Lancashire, in 1935. He studied at St Martin’s School of Art (1952-1953) and at Camberwell School of Art (1954-1957). Having taken up sculpture in spite of parental opposition and supported himself through art school, Ivor Abrahams worked in London and traveled whenever he could to see painting and sculpture in galleries throughout Europe. He began to teach part-time whilst he pursued a largely figurative way of working, and had one-man shows regularly from 1962 in Europe, Scandinavia, New York and Toronto.
In a continuing mission to make work that is accessible, Ivor Abrahams has rarely made sculpture that is purely abstract. First the figure, then gardens and classical landscape, then the sea entered his repertoire, only to be replaced again by the figure, until today when he is still drawing on his own environment, but in different ways. Portions of buildings, gardens, domestic interiors and people – usually active – inhabit works that are fundamentally collages. These are built of photographic images that are cut, altered, painted over and turned into three-dimensional form. Further works evolve from these assemblages in clay or resin. Some are painted; others are cast in bronze and then painted freely or patinated with great subtlety. Advertising placards have always held a fascination for Abrahams, as he once worked as a display artist for Adel Rootsteine in the late 1950s. The illusion of three dimensions that these placards convey is brought into his constructed sculptures as part of the process of developing an idea for sculpture, or even as an end in itself.
Abrahams, with his French wife Evelyne, bought a house in Pézenas in 1973, but has not lived there all the year round. They kept a home in London, and have recently moved back to Britain as their primary working base. In 1989 Abrahams was elected to the Royal Academy.
View this artist's work in our loan collection here.