William Turnbull b.1922

William Turnbull is a sculptor, painter and printmaker. In the early 1950s Turnbull was involved with the Independent group at the ICA, whose lectures on recent scientific, sociological and philosophical ideas were of great interest to the artist.

Turnbull's early work used simple linear elements as basic signs, often implying play and movement. These were followed by paintings in which the motion of groups of figures was suggested by gestural line.

The motif of the head as an object became predominant in his works during the mid 1950s. From 1955 to 1957 he treated the same motif with a calligraphic handling or heavy use of the palette-knife. Until 1963 his sculpture incorporated several parts in contrasting materials, such as bronze, stone and wood.

Later in his career he began to erase vestigial imagery. At first he produced almost monochromatic, heavily worked surfaces, followed by thinly painted colour fields . These were either vertically divided or incorporated cropped discs that implied an extension beyond the canvas. Later his paintings comprised sections of colour accented by occasional diagonals or bands clinging to the edge.

Turnbull's painted steel sculptures from 1963 to 1968 often involved irregular wavy forms. Turnbull's three-dimensional work corresponded with the concerns of the American Minimalists in its repetition of ready-made geometric units and concern for different responses to identical forms when set in a new context. Turnbull returned in 1977 to small, modelled sculptures. These later works, while evoking his sculpture of the 1950s, were more intimate and less dauntingly imposing.

Born in Dundee, Scotland

1939 - 1941
Worked as an illustrator for a national periodical publisher in Scotland before serving in the RAF for the rest of the war

1946 - 1948
Studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London

1948 - 1950
Lived in Paris

One of the young British sculptors whose work was shown at the 26th Venice Biennale

1953 - 1961
Became Visiting Artist at the Central School of Arts and Crafts

1964 - 1972
Taught sculpture at the Central School

Lives and works in London

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

William Turnbull, Galerie Thomas, Munich, Germany

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London
William Turnbull, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York

William Turnbull, Serpentine Gallery, London

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Galerie Sander, Darmstadt, Germany

William Turnbull, Galeria Freites, Caracas, Venezuela
William Turnbull, Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin, Germany

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries & The Economist Plaza, London

Sculpture in the Close: An Exhibition of the Works of William Turnbull, Jesus College, Cambridge

William Turnbull, Arnold Herstand & Co, New York

William Turnbull, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco

William Turnbull, Tony Dintenfass, New York

William Turnbull, Galerie Folker Skulima, Berlin, Germany
William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Terry Dintenfass, New York

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London

Kim Lim & William Turnbull, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore

William Turnbull, Galerie Kutter, Luxembourg

William Turnbull, Waddington & Shell Fine Art, Toronto and Theo Waddington Fine Arts, New York

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, LondonTurnbull, The Scottish Gallery, London

William Turnbull, Waddington and Tooth Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Scottish Arts Council, Edinburgh, Scotland
William Turnbull, Galerie Muller, Stuttgart, Germany

William Turnbull, Tate Gallery, London

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Waddington Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Hayward Gallery, London

IX Bienal, Sao Paolo; touring across South America

William Turnbull, Sculpture amd Paintingd, Waddington Galleries, London

William Turnbull, Pavilion Gallery, Balboa, California, USA

William Turnbull, Bennington College, Vermont, USA
William Turnbull, Gallerie Muller, Stuttgart, Germany

Turnbull, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York; Art Institute, Detroit, USA

William Turnbull, Molton Gallery, London

William Turnbull, Molton Gallery, London

William Turnbull: New Sculpture and Paintings, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

William Turnbull, Hanover Gallery, London

Kenneth King, Eduardo Paolozzi, William Turnbull, Hanover Gallery, London

Abright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Syndey
Arts Council Collection, London
The Berardo Collection, Sinatra Museum of Modern Art, Lisbon, Portugal
British Council Collection, London
David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, UCLA, Los Angeles
The Government Art Collection, London
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow
Jesus College, Cambridge
Leeds Museum and Galleries, Leeds
McManus Gallery, Dundeee Museum and Art Gallery
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Standford University, Standford, California
Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
Tate Gallery, London
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, New York
University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Alberta, Canada
Univeristy of Liverpool Art Collections

Selected Publications:

Davidson, Amanda, The Sculpture of William Turnbull (The Henry Moore Foundation & Lund Humphries; London, 2005)

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