David Cregeen, British (1945 - )

David Cregeen

DAVID CREGEEN MA, M.Phil (Edin).

David Cregeen is British a member of an academic and artistic family; his paternal uncle the Oral Historian Eric R. Cregeen, an aunt the playwright and archeologist Sheila Cregeen, while his maternal grandmother, a painter, was first cousin to the 20th century English composer of sacred music Dr. Herbert Howells.

Early in his career the distinguished American art collector, the late Dr. Arthur M. Sackler commissioned him to undertake the sculptural project ‘Faces in History’.

His work, expressionism, ‘evolves from the European classical tradition -----and there is clearly an intellectual bias which emerges in his subject matter through the course of his development.

( His) intellectual grasp of psychology and his deep sense of humanity come together in his figural sculptures and in his portrait heads.--- They manifest what the Chinese call ‘chi’ or life’s breath in a work of art and what Indians refer to as ‘prana’or ‘inner breath’.

Lois Katz, Curator of the Arthur M Sackler Collections New York.
‘DAVID CREGEEN SCULPTURE’ Retrospective Exhibition 1981-1988’

Educated in England, Canada and Scotland, David Cregeen “went on to train in Edinburgh, that ‘modern Athens and city of Adam Smith and David Hume’ and then in Florence power house of the Renaissance, centre of Humanism ….It comes as no surprise that Cregeen’s primary interest as an artist is the study of man, whether by means of the portrait or the full figure…..”.
Sherban Cantacuzino CBE FSA-
(PREFACE to DAVID CREGEEN: HIS WORK. McQueen 2013)

Graduating from Edinburgh University in 1976 with a master’s degree and Master of Philosophy, and having also concurrently taken a special course in sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art, he moved to Florence where he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arte and the Scoula Libera del Nuodo.

Returning to London he had a period of collaboration with London’s leading contemporary dance company, Ballet Rambert. In 1980 he was commissioned by former Dutch Resistance to sculpt a posthumous portrait of Wing Commander Guy Gibson, commander of ‘the Dam Busters’ who was shot down over Holland in 1944.
Cregeen’s first major solo exhibition, based on his time with Ballet Rambert, was at The Mannanan Festival of The Arts in 1981, followed by Edinburgh International Festival. In 1982 Cregeen won the Grolla d’Oro in Treviso, Venice, for a sculpture inspired by the Chosen Maiden’s last solo in Ballet Rambert’s revival of the Stravinski Ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’. This sculpture is conceptually central to his work. It has evolved over the years and expressed in increasingly abstract and elemental form.

In I983 Dr Sackler commissioned Cregeen to sculpt portraits of himself and his wife Jillian. His first solo exhibition in the US was at the Addison Ripley Gallery, Washington DC which featured the portrait head of Dr Sackler now at the National Portrait Gallery. Washinton DC. In 1986 he took part in the Greater London Council sponsored exhibition Humanism in Contemporary British Sculpture.

During this decade he spent much time in New York when his connection with the Sackler Foundation was consolidated with Dr Sackler inviting him to undertake the project Faces in History: a series of 20 portrait heads of leading personalities of our time. Some of those Cregeen has sculpted from life for this project have been Queen Elizabeth II as Head of The Commonwealth; President Nelson Mandela; Pope John Paul II; Mother Theresa, President Gorbachev, British Prime Minister Lady Thatcher, Professor Stephen Hawking, Sir John Gielgud, and leading Turkish businessman and philanthropist Sakip Sabanci. The collection, Faces in History, is now being catalogued and curated by the late Dr Sackler’s former curator Lois Katz, for its opening in the US and subsequent international touring exhibition.

In 1990 he was commissioned by The Honorary Society of The Middle Temple to sculpt a bust of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Several years later he sculpted The Prince of Wales for The Queen Mother. Amongst those many other portraits he has sculpted from life are: King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania and the Crown Princess of Romania, The Duchess of Cornwall, Sherban Cantacuzino, Sir Crispin Tickell, and some of those from the world of Arts and music include the film director John Schlesinger, Sir John Gielgud, actress Lindsay Duncan, the English contralto Norma Procter and Greek Tenor Mario Frangoulis and Ballet Rambert prima ballerina Lucy Burge.
In Turkey Cregeen has also sculpted some of the country’s leading personalities and members of their families including the late President Turgut Ozal, Omer Koc, Ayhan Sahenk, Emir Suren and Duriye Pekin. In 1997 he was commissioned to undertake a portrait in bronze of one of Turkey’s leading businessmen, art collectors and philanthropists, Sakip Sabanci for The Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istabul. Later he sculpted Erol Sabanci for the Sabanci Holding Headquarters in Istanbul and in 2007 he completed a memorial to the Sabanci family which is now placed in the museum gardens overlooking the Bosphorus, Istanbul.

In 2006 his solo exhibition at The Royal Commonwealth Society, London, to commemorate The Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, was viewed by The Queen. The same year he travelled to Nigeria to sculpt President Olusegun Obasanju and in 2010 he took part in Istanbul European City of Culture creating a sculpture to commemorate the city.

David Cregeen is currently finalizing work for both ‘Faces in History’ and the forthcoming internationally touring exhibition ‘Eternal Image A Journey: in Anatolia with work inspired by and based on his time in this region.

“Firing the imagination for many of his works and reflective of the inalienable human spirit coming through the ages this environment is a key to the ethos of Cregeen’s work with such earlier pieces as ‘Rockman’, ‘The Chosen Maiden’ and ‘After Newton Don’ anticipating his later Anatolian sculptures. At the heart of Cregeen’s sculpture is a sense of movement and their being integral with Nature”.
Professor Patrick Horsbrugh FRSA FRGS.
Foreword to ‘David Cregeen His Work’, McQueen 2013

Cregeen has had over 30 solo exhibitions world-wide. His work is found in many public and private collections including:
The Royal Collection, London; The National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC; The Arthur M Sackler Collections New York; The British Commonwealth, Secretariat, London; Middle Temple, London; International Student House, London, The Sakip Sabanci Museum Istanbul; Haci Omer Sabanci Holdings, Istanbul; The collections of: Barclays Bank PLC; Banque PNB Paribas; Garanti Bankasi; The Ziraat Bankasi, The Universities of Edinburgh, Harvard and Bucharest;

and the private collections of The Prince of Wales, King Michael of Romania, Prince Al-Waleed of Saudi Arabia, The Rt Hon and Mrs Tony Blair, The Rt Hon John Whitehead, Mukesh Ambani, John J. Studzinski, Cigdem Simavi, Ahmet and Duriye Pekin, Faruk and Hatice Suren, Mehmet Sen, Pia Lindstrom, Sir Robin and Lady Young, Sir Crispin and Lady Tickell, HHJ David Owen-Jones and Dr Moira Simmons

“As a master of the plastic mode of sculpture David Cregeen is primarily interested in the vital quality and meaning of his subject”
Lois Katz, Former Curator of the Arthur M Sackler Collections New York, DAVID CREGEEN SCULPTURE 1999

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