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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Karin Jonzen (1914–1998)

Sculptor and teacher, born Karin Löwenadler of Swedish parents in London. In 1944 she married artist and dealer Basil Jonzen (d. 1969) and then in 1972 the Swedish poet Ake Sucksdorff (d. 1992). As a child, she produced comic drawings which impressed her father sufficiently for him to send her to the Slade School of Fine Art (1933–36). She won both the painting and sculpture prizes and in 1936 was awarded a scholarship for a fourth year, which she spent at the City and Guilds of London Art School, Kennington. In 1939 she was at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm, and in the same year won the Prix de Rome, although the Second World War – in which she served as an ambulance driver – prevented her from going to Italy. She was invalided out with rheumatic fever and during her recuperation became convinced that modernism – which she believed ‘did violence to the human form’ – was not the way forward, subsequently adopting a classicising style. Jonzen was a Fellow of both the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Society of British Sculptors (RBS silver medal 1983). She had a solo exhibition at the Fieldbourne Galleries, 1974, exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1944, and also showed in various group and mixed exhibitions. Examples of her work are in the National Portrait Gallery; Victoria and Albert Museum; and the Bradford, Brighton, Glasgow and Southend art galleries. Public commissions include Ascension, 1956, Selwyn College, Cambridge; and, in the City of London, The Gardener, 1971 (Brewer’s Hall Garden); Beyond Tomorrow, 1972 (Guildhall Piazza); and Bust of Samuel Pepys, 1983 (Seething Lane Garden). Jonzen and her first husband set up a short-lived, but highly successful, gallery in the house they purchased in South Bolton Gardens, Kensington, after the war. In her later years, Jonzen purchased a studio in Gunter Grove, Chelsea, in which she lived and worked for the remainder of her life.

Bibliography: D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. 62; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, Liverpool, 2000, p. 329; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 380–81; The Independent, 2 February 1998, p. 16; Karin Jonzen Sculptor (intro. by Carel Weight CBE, RA), London, 1976; Mapping Sculpture; J. Seddon et al, Public Sculpture of Sussex, Liverpool, 2014, p. 166; The Times, 31 January 1998, p. 25; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 192–93, 236, 391–92; Who Was Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022