George Rickey was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1907. Six years later, his father, an engineer for the Singer Sewing Machine Company, was transferred and moved the family to Helensburgh, Scotland.
Rickey attended the University of Oxford, studying modern history at Oxford’s Balliol College, and drawing and painting at its Ruskin School of Fine Art. After graduation he went to Paris, where he studied painting under Fernand Léger.
After serving in the Army Air Corps throughout World War II, Rickey studied art on the G.I. Bill at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and at the Chicago Institute of Design. By the 1950s, Rickey had abandoned painting for sculpture, and had begun designing the stainless steel sculptures with moving parts that would become his specialty for the next 50 years. He died at home in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2002, at the age of 95.
Rickey’s work can be found in many private and corporate collections, as well as in major museums including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City;
the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the Tate Gallery in London; the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Naoshima, Japan; The Boymans Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburg.
George Rickey rejected the use of motors to power his sculptures and used the rectangular panels—like sails—to capture the wind. When the wind decreases, gravity begins to exert its pull on the panels. The exact movements of the sculpture are impossible to predict. Four Rectangles Oblique is a study in opposites—the rectangular forms are simple and orderly, while the movement, activated by the wind and gravitational pull, is complex and spontaneous.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
ABOUT THE SCULPTURE
Four Rectangles Oblique, 1979
19′ x 19′-8″ x 1′-5″ 6′
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Love Vs. Money, 2017 Fernand Léger
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Bruce & Sara Walking, 2007 Tom Otterness
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Zenit, 1999 Martin Puryear
Untitled (Bench), 2008 George Rickey
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Night, 1962 Bernar Venet
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Big Suit, 2010 Kan Yasuda
Door of Return, 2001 Jack Youngerman