Large Sculptures and Architectural Works

4 July – 30 August 2020


Messums London and Wiltshire is honoured to announce representation of Albert Paley’s work and studio in Europe and Australia. Albert Paley joins a roster of artists whose working practice is exemplified by their choice of material.

‘Over his career, there has been no aspect of the culture of metal that Albert Paley hasn’t impacted and changed. There is a profound ubiquity here, of an artist whose presence is everywhere: the modern history of jewellery, architectural metalwork, ornamental art, and sculpture. His career has spanned well over fifty years.’​​ Paul Greenhalgh
Albert Paley trained at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in the early 1960s. He initially established a profile on the American scene through his jewellery, though from the start his work was always sculptural. Moving out of precious materials and stones into a wider range of forged metalwork, he made the forge his principal vehicle of expression, with a major breakthrough coming in 1974 when he won a commission to create the Portal Gates for the Renwick Gallery (part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington). This work initiated a commitment to the art of gates, entranceways and doors, that still informs much of his practice and which led to the creation and installation of masterworks all over America. The V&A Museum recently purchased one of Paley’s gates, which is installed in their metalwork gallery, joining existing examples of his work within the collection.

As representatives of Paley’s work in Europe and Australia, we are delighted to present an exhibition of  large-scale sculpture and architectural work. Whilst Paley’s work has been a global one for a long time, there have been few opportunities on this side of the Atlantic for the public to see it, and these exhibitions represent the most complete showing of the artist in Europe.

‘The symbolic and aesthetic sensibility in Paley’s work reveals a consistency of mind, a view of the world, and an organic flow that ties it all together, from [his] early brooches to the monuments that contribute to cityscapes all over America. The artist has often talked about humanism, and the need for art to relate to people, in all their complexity. That is why he has committed himself, through the decades, to an art that lives in domestic and public, urban space. It is one of the most important oeuvres in metal or any other material of the last hundred years. And we are truly fortunate to see it gathered here in exhibition form.’ ​​​​​​​​​​​Paul Greenhalgh, writer, historian, curator and expert on the work of Albert Paley, director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Albert Paley’s work can be found in the permanent collections of most major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
He has been commissioned by both public institutions and private corporations, and has completed more than 50 site-specific works, including Portal Gates for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC; Synergy, a ceremonial archway in Philadelphia; Portal Gates for the New York State Senate Chambers in Albany; Sentinel, a monumental plaza sculpture for Rochester Institute of Technology; a 65-foot sculpture for the entry court of Bausch and Lomb’s headquarters in Rochester, NY; a gate for the Cleveland Botanical Gardens in Cleveland, OH; a sculptural relief for Wellington Place, Toronto, Canada; Threshold, a sculpture for the Corporate Headquarters of Klein Steel, Rochester, NY; and Transformation, a ceremonial entranceway for Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.