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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Nadim Karam (b. 1957)

Beirut-based artist, writer, architect and teacher, born in Senegal. He gained a BA in architecture at the American University of Beirut in 1982, and in 1985 and 1989 respectively, an MA in architecture and a doctorate at the University of Tokyo. He taught architectural design at the American University of Beirut, 1993–95 and 2003–04, and was Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Notre Dame University in Lebanon, 2000–03. In 1996 founded Atelier Hapsitus, a multi-disciplinary group of Lebanese architects and designers. He has had solo exhibitions, and participated in group exhibitions, worldwide. His book, Stretching Thoughts, was published in 2013. His permanent installation, The Travellers, on Sandridge Bridge, Melbourne, was commissioned by the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government in 2005. Karam describes his work as ‘an optimistic act of rebellion … an affirmation of the power of creativity against the tedium, soullessness or terror that at one time or another afflicts our lives and cities’. His Notting Hill Stories: Carnival Figures and Carnival Elephant were installed at Notting Hill Gate, London, in 1970.

Sources: Nadim Karam website; Ayyam Gallery – Artists: Nadim Karam; City of Melbourne – City Collection.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Nadim Karam, 2012 (photo:Martinekiwan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Kenneth Keeble-Smith (fl. 1933 – 1952)

Sculptor, painter and illustrator based in London and latterly, Farnham. He exhibited at the RA several times between 1933 and 1949, animals pre-war and figures post-war, employing a variety of stones and woods. He contributed illustrations to A.C.B. Bellerby’s The Lonely Dog. A True Story (published 1937; reviewed, with a reproduction of one of Keeble-Smith’s line drawings, in the Times Literary Supplement, 1 January 1938, p. 13). His bronze group for the Two Bears Fountain in Kensington Gardens was installed in 1940, stolen in 1967, and replaced with a replica in 1970. In 1952, he completed a stone relief panel, By Our Hands We live, for exterior of the Association for the General Welfare of the Blind offices in Tottenham Court Road (illustrated in The Times, 2 December 1952, p. 5).

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Charles J. Samuel Kelsey (1820–1888)

A son of the architectural sculptor James Kelsey, he started out in his father’s workshop, assisting him on the external architectural sculpture for Harvey Lonsdale Elmes’s St George’s Hall, Liverpool (1843–46). Following Elmes’s death in 1847, Kelsey worked in his own right for Elmes’s successor at St George’s Hall, C.R. Cockerell, preparing models for the ceiling of the great hall (1852) and executing decorative works in the small concert room (1854–55). Kelsey had first exhibited at the RA in 1840 and in 1843 entered the RA Schools on the recommendation of the painter William Etty, winning a silver medal in 1845. In 1844, he had submitted two statues, Earl of Shrewsbury and Venerable Bede, to the Westminster Hall exhibition. In 1846, the Society of Arts awarded him a silver medal for a design for an admission ticket to the Society’s rooms. His earliest known independent commission was in 1848 for the sculpture above the doorway of the Royal Insurance Building, Liverpool (demolished). In 1868, he carved four seated allegories for Horace Jones’s Smithfield Market building and in 1880 modelled a bronze relief for the same architect’s Temple Bar Memorial in The Strand. Although living mostly in central London (and occasionally Liverpool), immediately before the probable date of his wall monument to Anne Middleton Corbould and her eldest son, Ridley, in St Mary Abbot’s Church, Kensington (Ridley died in 1878), Kelsey gave his address as 1 Robert (now Sydney) Street, Chelsea.

Sources: Builder, 22 July 1882, p. 216; Mapping Sculpture; Roscoe, I., et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Richard Kindersley (b. 1939)

Sculptor and letterer born in London. He studied at Cambridge School of Art and in the studio of his father, David Kindersley. Since setting up his own studio in London in 1970 he has undertaken major sculpture and lettering commissions for many public and private bodies. His public sculptures include a decorative plaque in lead, 1975, for Northcote House, University of Exeter; The Seven Ages of Man, 1980, a ‘totem pole’ in cold cast aluminium for Baynard House, City of London; The Innocence of Childhood, c.1998, a brick carving giving a child’s eye view of a busy street, on the Raphael Street underpass in Knightsbridge; Two Rivers, c.2001, a brick carving alluding to the location of the site, the Two Rivers shopping centre, Staines, Surrey, at the confluence of the Wraysbury and Colne rivers shortly before their entrance to the Thames; and Emigration Stone, 2002, an upright slab in Caithness stone bearing an inscription commemorating those who departed for the New World at the time of the Highland Clearances in the 1830s and ’40s, Cromarty, Scotland. Kindersley is the winner of seven major brick carving competitions and is a recipient of the Royal Society of Art’s Art for Architecture Award.

Sources: Richard Kindersley website; Cavanagh, T., Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, Liverpool, 2000; Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Fritz Koenig (1924–2017)

Sculptor born in Würzburg, Germany. He studied at the Akademie der Künste, Munich, 1946–52. During a stay in Paris in 1951, he began working on forms derived from African sculpture, which he began to collect. In the mid-1950s, he produced a group of sculptures under the general title, Cattle, which were influenced by the early sculptures of Ewald Mataré (1887–1965). In 1957, Koenig won a scholarship to study at the Villa Massimo, the German Academy at Rome, his work on the theme of the ‘Quadriga’ dating from this period. For the German pavilion of the 1958 Brussels World Fair, he created two sculptures in bronze, Golgotha and Maternitas. In the early 1960s, he received several major religious commissions, including a relief representing The Creation for the main door of Würzburg Cathedral. During the 1960s, he moved from stylised figurative work to abstract sculpture heavily laden with symbolism. Sculptures from these years include his stelae and caryatid forms which developed into the series entitled Flora and Mona; his Great Flora L stands outside the German Embassy, Chesham Place, London. In 1964, he began teaching at the Technische Universität, Munich. Towards the end of the 1960s, he was commissioned to design a sculpture for the World Trade Center, New York. Installed in 1971, The Sphere (‘Kugelkaryatide N.Y.’) was the only work of art on the site to survive the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001; the work was restored and installed in nearby Battery Park as a memorial to the victims. Koenig said: ‘It was a sculpture; now it’s a memorial. Now it has a different kind of beauty, one I never could have imagined. It has a life of its own – different from the one I gave it.’ He died, aged 92, at Landshut, Germany, in 2017. In the following year, a major retrospective of Koenig’s work was held at the Uffizi and the Boboli Gardens in Florence.

Sources: ‘Sculptor Fritz Koenig of WTC fame dies at 92’, 23 February 2017, Deutsche Welle</a>; Oxford Art Online – Grove Art Online; Peggy Guggenheim Collection; Wikipedia.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Fritz Koenig at the Skulpturenmuseum in Hofberg Landshut on the occasion of the screening of Percy Adlon’s newly revised 1979 film, ‘Nebenbei hauptsächlich Rösser’on 15 October 2015.This film documents the first encounter between the director and Koenig, which was followed by a further four films about the life and work of the artist by director Percy Adlon with cameraman Pit Kochs. (photo:Peter Litvai, Landshut: CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

Frank Kovacs (active 1938–62; d. 1965)

Hungarian-born sculptor, mostly of portrait busts. He moved to Canada and trained as a minister (in the USA) to help his older brother establish a congregation of the Reformed (Calvinist) Church of Hungary in Brantford, Canada. After his brother’s death, Kovacs moved to England and exhibited in London (RA, 1938–62) and Paris. In 1955 he modelled a portrait bust of Alexander Fleming, one cast is in the Royal College of Physicians, another, unveiled in Chelsea Library in 1956 by Lady Amelia Fleming, has been on long-term loan to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, since 1993. Kovacs’ Memorial to the Victims of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 was unveiled on the frontage of the Polish Hearth Club, 55 Prince’s Gate, South Kensington, in 1960. He died of cancer in 1965.

Sources: Köztérkép; Mapping Sculpture.

T. Cavanagh November 2022