I understand
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1913 – 1981

Standing Woman
40 x 7 x 9.8 cm
Purchased with aid from Wakefield Permanent Art Fund, 1952 © Estate of Reg Butler. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones


This work was purchased at a moment when Butler was receiving international acclaim for his participation in the 1952 Venice Biennale. Exhibiting alongside Kenneth Armitage, Lynn Chadwick and Bernard Meadows, their work had been collectively described by the poet and critic Herbert Read as ‘Geometry of Fear’.

In 1958 Butler wrote that linear open-work iron sculptures, such as this figure, were made in response to the ‘enigmatical man-made objects’ that appeared on Britain’s coast during the Second World War. He referred to these structures as ‘personages… with little that was benign in their personalities, remote inscrutable custodians of a landscape hostile to man’.