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 Lynn Russell Chadwick  (1914 - 2003)

About: Lynn Russell Chadwick
 

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Lived/Active: England      Known for: abstract figurative sculpture, watercolor, ink drawing

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BIOGRAPHY for Lynn Chadwick
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Birth
1914 (London, England)
 
Death
2003 (Lyplatt Park, Gloucestershire, England)

Lived/Active
England

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abstract figurative sculpture, watercolor, ink drawing

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

The following exhibition review, by Ann Elliott, 2004, is from a website 'dedicated to the work of British sculptor Lynn Chadwick', http://www.lynnchadwick.com/pyramids_and_beasts_text.htm


Lynn Chadwick
Pyramids and Beasts

Lynn Chadwick was one of a number of sculptors, including Kenneth Armitage and Reg Butler – the young generation post-Henry Moore – that came to prominence in the fifties, and were promoted internationally, largely by the British Council in group and solo exhibitions. Although not generally known for working outside the realm of traditional sculptors’ materials, Chadwick took Formica into his work for a series of sculptures on the theme of Pyramids.  Formica: a new material post-war, brightly coloured and wipe-clean, the hygienic plastic surface adorning new kitchens of the 1950s and 1960s.  Not just in kitchens, but also in cafes and coffee bars that were keeping pace with the new energy and optimism of the era of Harold Macmillan’s premiership and the then current maxim that ‘Most people have never had had it so good.’

Eva Chadwick, the artist’s widow, recorded that Chadwick’s Pyramids were made in wood and covered in variously coloured Formica, and were exhibited at Marlborough Fine Art in 1966. This exhibition at Canary Wharf marks the first time they have been shown in public since then. The Pyramids are seemingly different from Chadwick’s other sculpture, sharp and colourful when compared with bronze, but they link with his fundamental vision. Viewing them some 48 years after they were made, the once vibrant red has faded to a softer rose; the yellows and greens are also now more subtle hues.  But the forms are still sharp, and they echo both former sculptures of Teddy Boys and Teddy Girls, and early Beasts. They are architectural, and work well in architectural settings. As a group they are figures, seen individually they become geometrically abstract. The split Pyramids are more complex and those with facets of different colours work differently in spatial arrangements.

Chadwick took the idea of the Pyramids further, when in 1968 he was invited to participate in the Quattordicesima Treinnale of Milan. He based his exhibit on the Pyramids he showed in 1966, making the new forms on site in tough cardboard. The principal theme of the exhibition was The Greater Number, and Chadwick’s exhibit was entitled Large-scale Figurative Representation. The organisers wrote in their catalogue, ‘All Chadwick’s proposals are presented in a form of plastic art. The section takes the form of a display of large sculptures for extensive areas which are designed to play their part in the design of the new metropolis. The sculptures assembled here are of an elementary nature, and strictly in the form of geometrical figures which appear to represent fantastic animals or shapes of bodies in space. There are thirteen solid pyramid shaped objects of varying dimension, the sides of which are painted in different colours.’

During the late 1960s Chadwick also made Pyramid sculptures in bronze. Their surfaces exhibit more texture than the smooth Formica pieces, and some are pierced with circular holes, others are conjoined or split.

Lynn Chadwick made his first Beast sculptures in 1953: Small Beast in iron and glass, a unique sculpture in the collection of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Rome; and Idiomorphic Beast in welded iron, again a unique sculpture, in the collection of the City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Both are spiky, alert forms with geometrical attributes. The Beast sculptures in this exhibition date from 1990 and are made from welded stainless steel. They are fully three-dimensional, and when viewed from different standpoints offer varying characteristics that complete the picture of individual animals or animal types. Beasts crouch and rise, they stretch and howl, they may be refined or muscular. Chadwick has expressed animal nature with minimal means in these works. Their scale is impressive and their presence is commanding. Crouching Beast II is ready to spring, its form full of potential motion. Movement had always been of interest to Chadwick, whether in his early mobile sculptures and dancing figures, or as in the beasts, where movement may be held in check or is fully expressed.

Chadwick began a series of stainless steel sculptures in 1988, in which he reinterpreted themes he had worked formerly in bronze – animals and the human figure. In his Postscript to the second edition of Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, the complete illustrated catalogue of his work, published in 1997, Dennis Farr wrote of the Beasts, ‘By using stainless steel, Chadwick has been able to emphasise the hard, angular qualities that have often been present in his bronzes. Profiles appear sharper, the geometrical construction of the interlocking triangular planes are more insistent.’

The hard, reflective stainless steel was cut and assembled by technicians working from three-dimensional diagrams. These elements were assembled over steel armatures, each facet of the stainless steel reflecting varying light and immediate surroundings. The sculptures become both part of their environment and a sharp presence within it. Chadwick‘s artistic progress was measured, and in these pieces while returning to past subjects, he developed a new and dynamic form of expression.

Lynn Chadwick was born in Barnes, London in 1914. He trained and worked as a draughtsman in a number of architectural practices in London, then spent some time as a farm labourer before volunteering for the Fleet Air Arm and gaining a commission (1941-44). After the war he produced textile, furniture and architectural designs, and his first mobile sculpture constructed from aluminium and balsa wood was shown at a Building Trades Exhibition in 1947. His first solo exhibition was held at Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, in 1950.

Chadwick was commissioned to make a number of mobiles for a wide range of clients over the next few years, and in 1953 made his first solid sculpture, the year in which he was one of twelve semi-finalists for the Unknown Political Prisoner International Sculpture Competition, in which he was awarded and honourable mention and prize. By 1956, his reputation as a sculptor was confirmed internationally when he won the International Prize for Sculpture at the XXVIII Venice Biennale. More prizes and accolades followed as his career developed, including being awarded the CBE in 1964. He was also created Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1993.

Lynn Chadwick made his home and studio at Lypiatt Park, Gloucestershire, from 1958 until his death in 2003. There he created a permanent exhibition of his work in the grounds: the rolling Gloucestershire countryside being home to his monumental sculptures, including the Beasts; and the house the location for smaller sculptures, and the Pyramids.

Canary Wharf plc is indebted to Mrs Eva Chadwick, the artists’ widow; his daughter, Sarah Marchant; and Peter Osborne of Berkley Square Gallery, London, for facilitating this exhibition.




This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Lynn Russell Chadwick was an English artist and sculptor who was born in London and went to Merchant Taylor's School.   He trained as an architectural draughtsman, but in the 1940s began producing metal mobile sculpture, constructions and works in glass.  During the 1950’s, he was prominent among the group of metal sculptors who followed in the steps of Henry Moore, and Chadwick's works, although largely abstract, carried suggestions of the Human Figure.  Notable among his works is The Watchers, a bronze cast from a reinforced plaster modeled upon a rigid framework.

During the 1960’s, his work became more block-like and monumental, designed to be seen in the open.  In the late 1980’s and 1990’s Chadwick was given exhibitions in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo. Chadwick's death in 2003 lead to a major exhibition at Tate Britain held later in that year.

He was commissioned to produce three works for the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1952 with Reg Butler, Bernard Meadows and Eduardo Paolozzi and he won the International Prize for Sculpture in Venice in 1956.

Chadwick's work is included in most major public collections.  He is featured in the 1964 documentary film "5 British Sculptors (Work and Talk)" by American filmmaker Warren Forma.  Many of Chadwicks prints are currently displayed in the Tate Britain gallery.

Three times married, he had four children: Simon by his first wife, the Canadian poet Ann Secord whom he married in 1942; Sarah and Sophie by his second wife Frances Mary Jamieson, whom he married in 1959; and Daniel by his third wife, the Hungarian photographer Eva Rainer whom he married in 1965.

Chadwick was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1964, and a French Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1985.

He died at Lypiatt Park, Gloucestershire on April 25, 2003.


Sources:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Chadwick

Osborne Samuel Gallery,
http://www.osbornesamuel.com/artist-gallery.asp?id=26098&type_id=&showname=

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