Sir Terry Frost (1915 - 2003)

Etching and aquatint


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© Estate of Terry Frost. All rights reserved, DACS 2016

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  • About the work
    Country: Spain
    City: Madrid
    Place: British Embassy

    Variations is one of a series of etchings by Terry Frost from the portfolio entitled 'Eleven Poems by Federico García Lorca' (1989). Frost was inspired by Lorca's 1935 poem 'Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías', which the Spanish poet wrote one year before his execution by a Nationalist firing squad. 'Lament' is arguably the finest of Lorca's later poems and it is one of several that inspired Frost during his career. Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (1891-1934) was one of Spain's most heroic toreadors and an influential writer and poet. He died in the bullring on 13 August 1934, famously, as the poem recalls, 'at five in the afternoon'.

    Frost's portfolio originally arranged the etchings so that each was folded between a poem, with the Spanish text printed alongside the English translation. The box holding the works was black, in tribute to the concept of the 'duende'. A characteristically Spanish, yet ephemeral concept, the duende is the mood of a moment conveyed by a poem, a piece of music or a work of art; a distinctive element of Spanish culture.

    Terry Frost's artistic career began late in his thirties. Born in Leamington Spa, one of his first jobs included preparing paints for targets painted onto fighter planes in the Second World War. In 1941, while serving in Crete, he was imprisoned and spent the next four years in camps in Greece, Poland and Bavaria. This was a gruelling, but significant experience, during which he drew portraits of his fellow prisoners. After the War, Frost studied at Camberwell School of Arts, London, and then settled in St Ives in 1950, where he worked as assistant to the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. He held his first major exhibition in London and was to enjoy several decades of solo and group exhibitions around the world. Frost was a prolific and energetic artist, who continued to work right up to his death in 2003.

  • About the artist
    Sir Terry Frost was born in Leamington Spa. He was imprisoned while serving in the war but afterwards studied at Camberwell School of Arts, London, then settled in St Ives in 1950, where he worked as assistant to Barbara Hepworth. In 1951, after meeting the artist Roger Hilton, he began to use construction and collage. In 1952 Frost’s first major exhibition in London led to several decades of solo and group exhibitions around the world. In 1960 he visited the USA and met leading Abstract Expressionists Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, and art critic Clement Greenberg. Knighted in 1998 for his contribution to British art, Frost continued to make paintings and prints as well as designing ceramics and textiles right up to his death in 2003.
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    Materials & Techniques
    etching, aquatint
  • Details
    Etching and aquatint
    width: 37.50 cm, height: 55.50 cm
    Purchased from Bonhams & Butterfields, San Franciso, November 2008
    bl: 11/75 ; br: Terry Frost
    R.J. & L.D.Fiedler, Altadena, California, USA (purchased from publisher 1989); Bonhams and Butterfields, San Francisco, 5 November 2008 (lot 311)
    GAC number