An engaging and timely image from one of England’s most notable 20th C artists, Dame Elisabeth Frink RA ( 1930 - 1993 ). This image is one of twelve prints comprising the Odyssey, a collection of colored lithographs on wove paper released by Frink in 1974. The set was published by Waddington Prints Ltd., London and printed at the Curwen Studio, London. There were only 30 sets made, signed, titled, and numbered in pencil by Frink.
Frink attended the Guildford School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art in England. At the age of 22 Frink had her first solo exhibition in London and sold a piece to the Tate Gallery - quite an accomplishment for one so young. Well recognized as a sculptor, Frink is also known for painting, drawing, and printmaking. Her art is figurative and the images are powerful, often aggressive.
In this piece, Frink uses mythological archetypes from Homer’s Odyssey to tell the story of the Debate in Ithaca, a short, cheeky version of which goes something like this:
Penelope (a woman, the Queen) has been weaving for 20 years while waiting for Odysseus (her husband, the King) to return. Everyone assumes her husband is dead and Penelope has many suitors. Penelope tells them that she will choose one of them to marry when she’s finished with her weaving, however, every night she unravels her weaving, cleverly avoiding having to marry again. Telemachus (Penelope’s son, the Prince) feels that his mother’s most ardent suitor is getting too pushy and calls for a formal counsel to debate the issue (the Debate in Ithaca). Tempers flare and the debate heats up enough so that Zeus (God, the heavy hitter) sends an Omen - two eagles appear over the counsel and proceed to tear at each other. This Omen is interpreted by a local wise man as a bad one for the suitors, namely, ‘Zeus is ticked off about this and it will not end well if you press the issue.’
CONDITION is excellent. Numbered 20/30, signed and titled by the artist. Framed under glass. Although I haven’t had the frame open, the size of the mat is just a tad over the full sheet size of wove paper that the piece was printed on, which would indicate the print is untrimmed. Measures 23 ¾” x 16 ½” overall with a sight size inside the mat of 12 ¼” x 8 ¼” - Weighs 5 lbs. 2 oz.
This image seems somehow timely given the current state of political discourse. Fighting eagles sent by an angry God as a warning. Something to think about. A fantastic piece by one of England’s greats. Enjoy!
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Dame Elisabeth Frink RA - Pencil Signed and Numbered Lithograph - The Odyssey, Debate in Ithaca - Framed Under Glass