20th Century British Art
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Frank Dobson (1886 - 1963)

Sculptor, draughtsman and painter in oil and watercolour. Born in London, the son of an artist with whom he initially studied, Dobson first attended Leyton School of Art, 1900-2, was an apprentice studio boy with then sculptor Sir William Reynolds-Stephens, 1902-4. After a time in Cornwall was, 1906-10, at Hospitalfield Art Institute, Arbroath, finally attending the City and Guilds School, Kennington, 1910-12. Although he made his first wood-carving just before World War I, Dobson's first one-man show, at the Chenil Galleries, 1914, was of paintings and drawings. During World War I enlisted in Artists' Rifles and continued working, Imperial War Museum acquiring his large oil The Balloon Apron. After the war Dobson met Wyndham Lewis and exhibited with Group X in 1920; had a first one-man show as a sculptor at Leicester Galleries, 1921. First sculptures were very stylised, but later work influenced by the work of Aristide Maillol. During the inter-war years Dobson consolidated his reputation - with Epstein he was called "a keeper of tradition", bridging classical and modern sculpture - by making the backdrop for the first performance of William Walton's Facade; showing internationally; designing glazed pottery reliefs for Hay's Wharf, London; completing his large carving Pax and notable portraits. Official War Artist in World War II. Professor of sculpture at the Royal College of Art, 1946-53. Elected RA, 1953. Dobson is represented in many public galleries, including the Tate Gallery. Arts Council memorial exhibition 1966, and touring; retrospective Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, 1981-2, toured; major reappraisal at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 1944. The Fine Art Society exhibited The Trask Bequest, works by Paul Nash and Dobson, in 2004. Died in London.

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