George Rickey, along with one of his major influences, Alexander Calder, has been designated as a master of kinetic sculpture. Born in South Bend, Indiana, his family moved to Scotland due to his father’s job. He studied history at Oxford in England and painting at the Académie Moderne in Paris under the painter Fernand Léger. In the early 1930s, he moved back to the United States for a teaching position, but by 1933 he had already achieved his first solo exhibition in New York and had ultimately decided to paint full time. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, he taught at various universities and colleges across the nation and served during Word War II in the Army Corps of Engineers. While studying Bauhaus teaching methods at the Chicago Institute of Design, he “seriously began to consider the idea of bringing together geometric form and movement,” and in 1949 he made his first kinetic sculpture. At his studios in East Chatham, New York, Berlin, and Santa Barbara, Rickey created stainless steel kinetic sculptures for public commissions characterized by large, sweeping movements heavily influenced by Russian Constructivism. He even created his own precision bearings to achieve such graceful motion. His sculptures reside in public spaces and museums throughout the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Hyogo Museum in Japan, and the Tate Gallery in London.
Johnson, Ken. “George Rickey, Sculptor Whose Works Moved, Dies at 95.” NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 21 July 2002. Web. 3 Sept. 2012.