Our inaugural sale will feature artist Cathy Ward’s private collection of sculpture by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.
Rachael Osborn-Howard went to view the collection at her studio in Hackney, here’s what happened…
A visit to Cathy’s studio is just as surprising and fascinating as you would expect. From the exterior of the 1930’s building, to the rough, untouched condition of the interior (she proudly informed me that the building was occasionally let to film producers of gangster films), to the extraordinary works of art that are stored and created there, the experience is just as authentic and interesting as you would expect.
Travelling down a series of dimly lit corridors take you to Ward’s first studio, which is dark and foreboding, the shelves piled high with distorted and deformed figures, the cobwebs floating around them indicating the length of time that many have occupied the space. Although space in this historic building is coveted, and the waiting list for a studio here is over twenty years, Ward is lucky enough to have a second studio in the same building, which is light and bright but with strange objects hung, mounted and displayed in every corner.
“I brought him
the casts he
asked me to
make, god they
took me over
100 hours; and
he paid my £7
cab fare and
gave me these
Here Ward’s own work sits beside those of her teacher, the great Eduardo Paolozzi, and this gives an opportunity to compare the two. Ward was at the Royal College of Art while Paolozzi was teaching there, and went on to work with him on a regular basis, producing various casts that he would re-use in his own work. Her own work at that time was exploring the dark world of S&M, the female form and the Erotic, and these themes also influenced Paolozzi’s work. Ward cast this figural group in plaster for the artist, expecting Eduardo to cut it up and re-figure it, but he kept them as she had made them, and she recalls ‘I brought him the casts he asked me to make, god they took me over 100 hours; and he paid my £7 cab fare and gave me these prints as payment”. Her main regret at the time, was that she was so much in awe of him that she was reluctant to ask to be paid properly. Instead he paid her by giving her works of art that were sitting around his studio, and in hindsight they are much more valuable.
One of Ward’s most prized possessions, sitting in her studio, is the collage triptych that Eduardo gave her as a thank you for work that she produced for him. An impressive and as yet un-documented work, it features many stylistic traits that appear in other works he produced during the 1960’s. Formed from a 19th century, Renaissance Revival style wooden and parcel gilt triptych frame, the traditional nature of the outer shell of the work is in complete contrast to the very modern ‘Pop Art’ style figures that it encloses. This creates an interesting dichotomy between the throw-away nature of the magazine cut-outs that he has artfully arranged, and the framing of the work as if it were an esteemed work of ‘high art’, such as a Renaissance oil painting.