Frink, Dame Elisabeth

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Dame Elisabeth Frink

1903 – 1993

Dame Elisabeth Frink was born in Suffolk, in 1930. She studied at Guildford School of Art (1947-49) and Chelsea School of Art (1949-53) under Bernard Meadows and Willi Soukop. She taught at Chelsea School of Art (1953-61), St Martin’s School of Art (1954-62) and was visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art (1965-67).

Men, dogs, horses and birds were constant subject-matter throughout Frink’s career. She modelled, cast in plaster and then carved the plaster, much as Henry Moore had done, to achieve a tougher surface when the plaster was cast in bronze.

Unlike Moore, however, she rarely worked with the female form: “I have focused on the male because to me he is a subtle combination of sensuality and strength with vulnerability,” Frink is quoted as saying in the catalogue raisonnĂ© of her work (Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture, Harpvale, 1984).

Her figures have dignity, mystery and a simplicity of form which place them apart from us: they seem to be focused elsewhere.

An artist of international stature, her sculptures and artworks are found in most of the world’s major public collections. She also received official recognition, being awarded the CBE in 1969, and in 1982 she was created Dame of the British Empire.

Elisabeth Frink died in 1993. Her work regularly achieves six figures at auction.