Ralph Brown was born in Leeds in 1928. He attended Leeds School of Art (1948-51) & Hammersmith School of Art (1951-52) then studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art (1952-56) with Dobson and Skeaping.
On his first visit to Paris in 1951 Brown saw the work of Rodin, Giacometti & Germaine Richier. In 1954, he made a special study of Rodin whilst in Paris on a scholarship to work in the studio of Ossip Zadkine. During the same visit he met Giacometti & Richier. In 1956 he published a thesis, ‘Some Digressions on Rodin & Medardo Rosso’.
A further scholarship, awarded by the University of London (1957) & sponsored by Henry Moore, enabled him to visit Italy where he made a particular study of Etruscan sculpture and the work of Giovanni Pisano & Piero della Francesca. Brown visited the studios of Marino Marini, Giacomo Manzù & Emilio Greco. He also worked for a period in Cannes making mosaic panels for Picasso. Elected Royal Academician in 1972.
Taught part-time at the Royal College (1956–1973) when, in order to concentrate on his own work, he moved to the South of France. Here the contact with art of the figurative tradition in Europe influenced his sculpture profoundly.
Robust modeling, savage imagery or gently erotic forms are to be found in his work, for which the human clay is an abiding inspiration. Drawing is important to him as both a rapid response to human form and in highly finished compositions.
As a result of exhibitions in Britain, Europe and America Brown's work may be found in many public & private collections here & abroad. In 1988 he was the subject of a major retrospective at the Leeds City Art Gallery. Currently lives & works near Stroud, Gloucestershire.
- Aberdeen Art Gallery, Scotland
- Albright-Knox Collection, Buffalo, USA
- Arts Council of Great Britain
- Bristol Art Gallery
- Chantrey Bequest
- Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
- Halifax Art Gallery, Yorkshire
- Huddersfield Art Gallery
- Leeds City Art Gallery
- National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
- Norfolk Contemporary Art Society
- Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Netherlands
- Royal Academy of Arts, London
Royal College of Art, London
- Salzburg State Museum, Austria
- Southport Art Gallery
- Stuyvesant Foundation, South Africa
- Tate Gallery, London
Sculptures on public sites include:
- Harlow New Town: Market Square & Ladyshott Common Room,
- Commonwealth Institute, London
- Kodak House, Hemel Hempstead
Newnham College, Cambridge
Jersey Zoo Sculpture at Goodwood, West Sussex