Inge King

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Inge King
Inga King 2008.jpg
Inge King (2008)
Birth name Inge Neufeld
Born (1915-11-26) 26 November 1915 (age 98)
Berlin, Germany
Nationality AustraliaAustralian
Field Sculpture
  • Berlin Academy of Arts
  • Royal Academy of Arts, London
  • Glasgow School of Art
Movement Centre 5
Works Forward Surge (1972-74), Melbourne Arts Centre.
  • AM (Member in the Order of Australia)
  • Australian Arts Council Visual Arts Emeritus Award (2009)

Inge King (born 26 November 1915) is a sculptor, who has many significant public, commercial, and private sculpture commissions to her credit.

Inge Studied sculpture with Hermann Nonnenmacher (1892–1988)[1] during 1936-37, and in October 1937 she was admitted to the Berlin Academy of Arts. She was forced to leave the academy a year later, shortly before Kristallnacht. In 1939 Inge travelled to England, and spent two terms at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1939 until it was closed due to war-time bombing. Inge joined that sculpture classes of Benno Schotz at the Glasgow School of Art in 1941 and stayed until 1943. Inge met her husband, the Australian artist Grahame King, at The Abbey Arts Centre in Hertfordshire, England and they were married in 1950. Grahame and Inge returned to Australia and the settled in Melbourne in 1951.[2]

Mrs King has been at the forefront of developing non-figurative sculpture in Australia. She was a member of The Centre 5 group of sculptors grew from a 1961 meeting convened by Julius Kane in Melbourne to, 'help foster greater public awareness in contemporary sculpture in Australia'. Members of the Centre 5 group included Lenton Parr, Inge King, Norma Redpath, Julius Kane, Vincas Jomantas, Clifford Last and Teisutis Zikaras.[3]

Many of her large scale works are found in public plazas, including Forward Surge, 1974 at the Melbourne Arts Centre and on numerous university campuses. Inge has held over 26 solo exhibitions including a retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1992, and has participated in over 60 group shows in London, New York, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2009 she was awarded by the Australian Arts Council ‘The Visual Arts Emeritus Award which recognises Inge’s pivotal role in raising the profile of modern sculpture in this country.’[4]

In July 2009, her solo show "Sculpture: Maquettes and Recent Work" opened at Australian Galleries and a book Inge King: Small Sculptures and Macquettes by Judith Trimble and Ken McGregor was published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 978-1-921394-26-3). Another retrospective show opened in August 2013 in Melbourne.[5]

Major Works[edit]

Forward Surge
Artist Inge King
Year 1972 (1972)
Type Sculpture
Material Painted Steel
Location Melbourne Arts Centre, St Kilda Road.
Inge King - Sun Ribbon at University of Melbourne.jpg
Sun Ribbon
Artist Inge King
Year 1980-82 (1980-82)
Material Sculpture
Subject painted steel
Coordinates 37° 47′ 49.51″ S, 144° 57′ 43.4″ E
Owner University of Melbourne
Artist Inge King
Year 1994 (1994)
Material Sculpture
Subject painted steel
Location Southbank, Melbourne
Coordinates 37° 49′ 13.80″ S, 144° 57′ 51.40″ E
Owner City of Melbourne

Forward Surge[edit]

Inge's most prominent sculpture is the monumental Forward Surge at the Melbourne Art Centre. It is made from 50mm mild steel and stands 5.2m high, 15.1m wide and 13.7m deep. The sculpture was commissioned by the Victorian Arts Centre in 1974; construction was completed in 1976 and the work was installed in its present position in 1981. more images

Forward Surge is the major sculptural drawcard for the Arts Centre precinct and one of our most prominent and valued works of art. It has been listed on the National Trust Register since 1992, and is noted by the National Trust as King's "most monumental work of art, and probably most significant"[6]

Royal Australian Air Force Memorial[edit]

The Royal Australian Air Force Memorial, situated on Anzac Parade, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, was designed by Inge King and unveiled in 1973. It is a free-standing abstract steel sculpture on a stone base. Three large stainless steel panels reminiscent of aircraft wings, rise vertically from the base to a height of almost eight meters. They represent the endurance, strength and courage of RAAF personnel. The panels enclose a polished basalt base on which rests a bronze plate representing man's struggle to conquer the elements. The inscription per ardua ad astra is the RAAF motto meaning "through adversity to the stars". [1] images

Sun Ribbon[edit]

Inge King's Sun Ribbon provides the students of University of Melbourne with a unique resting place among its massive unfurling bands, and is the focal point of one of the University's busiest thoroughfares, the Union Lawn.[7]

The sculpture is formed in 19mm-thick steel, by two upright flat, circular bands, each 360 cm, in diameter, and three folder 'rectangular' planes comprising a total ensemble length of 600 cm.[8] more images


The Shearwater sculpture is placed in front of the Esso building along the Southbank Promenade, Melbourne. It was commissioned by Esso Australia. Built in polychrome steel 780 x 670 x 350 cm. more images

Rings of Saturn[edit]

Rings of Saturn is located in the Sir Rupert Hamer Garden, in the grounds of the Heide Museum of Modern Art [2] in Bulleen, a suburb of Melbourne Australia. Shortly after the dedication of this work, in August 2006, King said:

Working with Heide Museum for Rings of Saturn, firstly we agreed on a maquette. Then when I saw the site I knew I had to enlarge the work to do what I call 'conquer the landscape'. The Australian landscape is an enormously powerful landscape; vast and with clarity of atmosphere, and you never know in advance how work will look in it. The landscape grips my imagination – I try to measure my work against the vast spaces of this country. Conquering the landscape does not rely on scale but simplicity and clarity of form expressing inner strength and tension. If my sculpture is outdoors or in the public domain I like it to arouse people's curiosity to explore the work. Multidimensional objects look different from every angle. The exciting thing about outdoor sculpture is the change with the light, the weather... everything is in constant flux. It becomes almost a living entity.[9]

Other Works[edit]

Rings of Saturn Inge King Heide.JPG
Rings of Saturn
Artist Inge King
Year 2006 (2006)
Material Sculpture
Subject painted steel
Location Heidelberg, Victoria
Coordinates -37° 45.519', 145° 4.974'
Owner Heide Museum of Modern Art


Judith Trimble, Inge King Sculptor, (1996), Craftsman House N.S.W. ISBN 976-641-048-8

Judith Trimble and Ken McGregor, Inge King: Small Sculptures and Maquettes, (2009), MacMillan Mini-Art Series Number 10, Series editor Jenny Zimmer, ISBN 978-1-921394-26-3

Inge King, Sculpture 1945-1982: A Survey. Melbourne University Gallery, The University of Melbourne. Essay by Jenny Zimmer, (1982), ISBN 0-86839-388-6

A Thousand Different Angles, a Frontyard Films documentary on Inge King and her sculpture, by Amanda King and Fabio Cavadini which screened on the Artscape program on ABC1 TV in Australia, on Tuesday 30 March 2010, at 10PM. Also online at vimeo or a 5 minute extract from the National Film and Sound Archive.


  1. ^ Nonnenmacher was a Berlin-based sculptor who studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, he was member of the National Association of artists of Germany
  2. ^ accessed 08 Feb 2014 'Ingeborg (Inge) Neufeld', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011
  3. ^ McClelland Gallery,
  4. ^ Professor Snell, Australian Arts Council
  5. ^ Sonia Harford (17 August 2013). "Sculptor's monumental efforts celebrated in show of her life's work". The Age. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  6. ^ The Melbourne Arts Centre. The Beach media release Forward surge.pdf
  7. ^ UniNews Vol. 13, No. 8
  8. ^ Judith Trimble, Inge King Sculptor, (1996), Craftsman House N.S.W. p 116.
  9. ^ Artlink, Vol 26 no 4

External links[edit]