Austin Wright British, 1911-1997

Austin Wright (1911–1997) grew up in Cardiff and trained to be a teacher. In 1939 he produced his first surviving wood-carving. After the war, he started teaching at York Art School, where he widened his range of media to include stone, clay and lead.

In 1955 he was asked to exhibit in the touring British Council Show ‘Young British Sculptors’ with Kenneth Armitage, Lynn Chadwick, Elizabeth Frink and Eduardo Paolozzi. A remarkable achievement for an artist who only took up sculpture full-time at the age of 44, a year before being selected for the show.

In 1957, Austin won the purchase prize at the São Paulo Biennale, and from 1961-1964 he held the Gregory Fellowship in Sculpture at the University of Leeds. Here he befriended the Professor of Botany, Irene Manton, who stimulated his interest in plant forms and in the interior structure of plants. From this point on, Wright’s sculptures were inspired by plants, botanical electron micrographs and his beloved, inspirational garden. These works explore growth, movement and lightness; features encapsulated by his choice of medium, aluminium. 

His work is held at the Tate; the Arts Council; the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; the University of Leeds and the University of York. He had major retrospectives at Wakefield (1960), Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (1974), the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (1984), Hull (1988) and York Art Gallery (2011).

Willoughby Gerrish Ltd represents the estate of Austin Wright.