Meat Porters

2000
Bronze
215 x 90 x 122 cm
Edition of 3

Meat Porters was made in response to a commission by Harlow Art Trust for the town's Market Square in 1960. Previously a concrete version, Sarcophori, had won the second prize for sculpture at the John Moore's Exhibition, Liverpool, in 1959 and had also enjoyed great acclaim elsewhere. Predictably the sculpture, depicting a flayed carcass of an ox being carried by two naked men, caused a stir in Harlow, but it was reported that the commissioning body greeted the unveiling of the concrete maquette with a universal gasp of delight. The Harlow sculpture was subsequently made from a new mould taken from the repaired model originally used for the concrete and a further resin cast. It was from this version that Meat Porters was cast from, which bears an overall resemblance to the Harlow piece, but which is substantially different. Meat Porters is both grey and yellow-pink reminiscent of skin, thereby underlining both the brutal and curiously tender qualities of his sculpture. It brings to mind Rembrandt's painting The Slaughtered Ox (1655), and surgeons' illustrations of flayed bodies of that time. Only one bronze was made of the original edition, thereby making the sculpture for Harlow more permanent. It is interesting to note that this sculpture, once vilified by the local populous, was in 1998 listed by National Heritage as a protected monument - one of only eighteen twentieth-century sculptures to be designated as such.

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About The Artist

After a visit to Paris in 1951 Brown became inspired by sculptors Auguste Rodin, Alberto Giacometti and Germaine Richier. Later, in 1954, he made a special study of Rodin whilst in Paris on a scholarship to work in the studio of Ossip Zadkine. During the same visit he met Giacometti and Richier. In 1956 he published a thesis, Some Digressions on Rodin and Medardo Rosso and completed a further scholarship, awarded by the University of London in 1957. Henry Moore later sponsored his practice, which enabled him to visit Italy where he made a particular study of Etruscan sculpture and the work of Giovanni Pisano and Piero della Francesca. Brown visited the studios of Marino Marini, Giacomo Manzù and Emilio Greco. At this time he also worked for a period in Cannes making mosaic panels for Picasso.

Browns work is deeply rooted in figurative tradition but has a sensitive approach to the human form that is suggestive of movement and human experience. Brown's work frequently displays gently erotic forms that can be missed if his work is only observed momentarily. His work is layered with savagery only discernible to the perceptive eye, much like how often the layers of human emotion remain carefully hidden underneath the surface of twentieth century constructed identity.

Ralph Brown

Born: 1928

Other Artworks by Ralph Brown at CASS

2000

La Sposa

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