It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Phillip King, one of the most ground-breaking British artists of the last 70 years.
Phillip died peacefully with his wife Judy at his side.
We were blessed to have worked with Phillip in the last eight years of his life, during which time he re-taught us that art and sculpture-making should know no rules or limitations. His curiosity, joy, and sparkle were boundless and contagious, and we will miss him dearly.
Phillip was born in Tunis in 1934 to a French mother and English father. In 1945 he moved to London and went on to study modern languages at the University of Cambridge. He eventually enrolled at St Martin’s School of Art where he met Anthony Caro and the New Generation group of artists, who would go on to completely revolutionise sculpture from the 1960s onwards.
A real free-spirit and risk-taker, Phillip worked tirelessly throughout his life experimenting with materials, forms and colours, seldom repeating himself, as he moved from periods of working in steel, ceramic, polyurethane, found objects as well as bronze and stone. He would rarely make preparatory drawings, rather referring to shapes and colours that would appear to him in dreams. He was a modest man, entirely committed to his rigorous exploration, rarely missing a day in the studio right up to the end of his life.
Phillip loved to be surrounded by younger artists and loved to teach, taking up professorships in the UK, Europe and the US. In 1967 he was appointed a trustee of Tate, and from 1999 to 2004 he was President of the Royal Academy of Arts.
His works are installed in public spaces around the world, from Australia and Japan to Scandinavia, China and the US, and are represented in some of the most important museum collections including Tate, Pompidou and MoMA. His final major public project, La Ronde de Rennes, will be unveiled later this year in the French city of Rennes.