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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

William Pye (b. 1938)

Sculptor born in London. He studied at Wimbledon School of Art, 1958–61, and the Royal College of Art, 1961–65, under Bernard Meadows. He subsequently taught at Central School of Art and Design, 1965–70, and Goldsmiths’ College, 1970–75, and was visiting professor at California State University, 1975–76. He made his name in the later 1960s with highly polished tubular forms in stainless steel, the most prominent example being Zemran, 1971, on the South Bank, one of a select group of post-war British sculptures awarded Grade II listing by Historic England in 2016. In the 1970s Pye explored kineticism, which had led by the early 1980s to his series of site-specific, water-based sculptures, major examples on public sites include Slipstream and Jetstream, 1987, Gatwick Airport North Terminal (ABSA Award and Art & Work Award, 1988); Sibirica, 1999, Holland Park, London; three pieces, 2007, in the Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg; Salisbury Cathedral font, 2008; Hypanthium, 2009, University of British Columbia Botanical Gardens, Vancouver; Vannpaviljong, 2011, Stromso Square, Drammen, Norway; Alchemilla, 2016, All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon; and Aquaverde, 2017, Grange Park, Toronto. Pye has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad; his first solo exhibition was in 1966 (Redfern Gallery, London) and his first in the USA was in 1970 (Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York). He was elected FRBS in 1992, honorary FRIBA in 1993, and president of the Hampshire Sculpture Trust in 2002. He was awarded the Prix de Sculpture at the 5th International Sculpture Exhibition, Budapest 1981; the Royal UENO Museum Award, Japan, 1989; and a lifetime Achievement Award from International Art Consultants, 2004.

Sources: William Pye website; William Pye: his work and his words, Sudbury, Suffolk, 2010; Who’s Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Pye, William

William Pye, 2014 (photo: © A.K. Purkiss)