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Ronald Moody: A Reputation Restored

Article relating to an exhibition, 2003
Published by: Condé Nast Publications
Year published: 2003
Number of pages: 3

image of Ronald Moody: A Reputation Restored

Substantial feature on Ronald Moody, written by Guy Brett, in the magazine, Tate International Arts and Culture (March/April 2003), pp. 78-80.The piece was extensively illustrated, including a dramatic full-page reproduction of Seated Sarong Figure, 1938. The article related to a display of the artist’s work that took place at Tate Britain, 24 March - 30 May 2003.

The article, A Reputation Restored, was introduced as follows: ‘Self-taught wood-carver Ronald Moody, a former dentist born in Jamaica, is revealed as one of Britain’s most remarkable Modernist sculptors in a new display at Tate Britain, writes Guy Brett.’

“His hands rest lightly on the massive shoulders of his sculpture Johanaan. The great head, carved from elm, stares as if into remote space. In a striking picture from 1963, the sculptor Ronald Moody is photographed in his west London studio with this work which he had made almost 30 years earlier. It is now 40 years since the picture was taken, and Johanaan is finally on show as the centrepiece of a display of Moody’s carvings at Tate Britain.

The sculpture’s dignified calm and air of permanence are perhaps deceptive. This is the first time that Moody’s work has been officially recognised as part of the mainstream of British art, although Moody spent most of his working life in Britain, up to his death in 1984. Behind this exhibition - and Tate’s acquisition of Johanaan - lie the efforts of a number of people, notably Cynthia Moody, the artist’s niece and trustee of his estate, to re-establish the sculptor’s reputation, and more broadly to pressurise our national art institutions into recognising that the London art scene has long been richer and more diverse phenomenon than they have been prepared to acknowledge.

When work by a neglected artist like Moody is put on show we assume it appeared from nowhere, or from total obscurity. But there is always a history. Moody’s work was in fact recognised and in demand in at least four ‘moments’ in the art of the 20th century. His life story is woven with a cultural currents that are themselves being brought more and more to light.”

Related people

»  Guy Brett

Born, 1942. Died, 2021

»  Ronald Moody

Born, 1900 in Kingston, Jamaica. Died, 1984

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Tate Britain

London, United Kingdom