© Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2023.


Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924 – 2005)


71 X 83 X 83
Accession number


Paolozzi used the phrase ‘the metamorphosis of quite ordinary things into something wonderful’ to describe certain of his works, and it is undoubtedly appropriate for Large Frog. Allied to his belief in the artist’s power to transmogrify humble material, Paolozzi was equally interested in art that his highly detailed, multi-layered and rich with content and form. When he occupied himself with graphics and with paper collage, the images can literally be multi-layered, with motifs lifted from advertisements, packaging, films, comics, toys and electronic circuits all jostling for attention. A similar approach was applied to the making of sculpture such as Large Frog. This frog is one of family Paolozzi made in the 1950s, all of which bear a tribal relationship but each is different in its own peculiar way. Large Frogstands on four legs, modeled originally in clay and based on what looks like a marriage between a tunnel and a trumpet. Its squat, rotund body sits on these legs with his huge face and open mouth confronting the viewer.


Paolozzi had two methods of producing the collage effect seen in the frog’s face and body, and probably both were utilized in the production of this work. In one, he would roll out a thick bed of moist clay into which he would press chosen objects; these would leave a pattern of negative impressions, and molten wax would then be poured onto the bed of clay, where it would form a textured blanket. Wax being plastic, Paolozzi would still alter it or add further details before it was made permanent at a bronze foundry. The other method was to assemble the actual objects in a temporary arrangement and make a negative plaster mould of them. In view of the complicated texture of part of a piano keyboard which makes up the major area of this frog’s face, it seems more likely here that a plaster mould was used. However, wax would also have bee poured into the plaster negative, providing the artist with several pieces of patterned sheets of wax arrived at by various means, for assembly into the final configuration. Henry Moore wished to release the vitality of the stone he carved by gradually paring it away. In contrast, Paolozzi aimed to conjure a human or animal presence by a gradual accretion of significant and imaginative detailing.


A selection of paintings and sculpture; The British Council Collection, The British Council 1984