Lynn Chadwick British, 1914-2003


Lynn Russell Chadwick was born in London on Nov. 24, 1914.  After studying at the Merchant Taylors' School, he worked as an architectural draftsman from 1933 to 1939.  He served as a pilot during World War II.  After the war Chadwick began to design furniture, textiles and even some architectural projects.  He also started to build mobiles similar to those executed by Alexander Calder whose work was at first unknown to him.  His first mobile of aluminum and balsa wood was shown at the Aluminum Development Stand at the Builders' Trades Exhibition. Positive public reaction to these mobiles led to his first solo exhibition at the Gimpel Fils Gallery in London in 1950.  Chadwick, however, soon discarded these kinetic, moving elements from his sculpture, but continued to use his own particular mode of construction and assemblage rather than the prevailing norm of carving or modeling his sculptures. 


Chadwick and his art essentially came of age after World War II, an energetic yet unsettled time of great artistic experimentation when the new existential anxiety movement(a kind of post traumatic war syndrome) confronted both the deep-seated traditions of human representation and a nascent attraction to modern abstraction.  In the 1950's he employed skeletal lines and rough planes and surfaces that were organized into generalized images of people and animals.  In 1956 when he was 41 and just six years into his art career Chadwick won a first prize for sculpture at the Venice Biennale and along with that award came international fame and enormous financial success.  In 1964 he was made a Commander of the British Empire and in 1985 a French Officier de l' Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.  His first major success came in 1953 when he was among a dozen semifinalists for the Unknown Political Prisoner International Sculpture Competition, and he received an honorable mention.  In the 1960's Mr. Chadwick's work was partly eclipsed by the increasingly abstract tendencies in modern sculpture, but he still enjoyed a lucrative career into the 1980's.  His sculptures during this period were human figures cast in bronze and clad in rough drapery while sporting geometric (both pyramidal and rectangular) heads.  These works blended the surreal with a monumental quality that was more often associated with the large scale works of Henry Moore.  In 1988 Mr. Chadwick was again invited to exhibit in the Venice Biennale for which he created a pair of seated figures, male and female, titled ''Back to Venice.''  These expressionistic, figurative works of welded iron and bronze earned him international acclaim. 


Three times married, Chadwick 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 died on April 25, 2003 at the age of 88 at his home in Lypiatt Park in Stroud, Gloucestershire.


Unknown Political Prisoner International Sculpture Competition 1953, Honorable Mention

Venice Biennale 1956 First Prize for Sculpture

Commander of the British Empire 1964

François Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres 1985


Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, 1949, 1950 (solo)

Festival of Britain complex, 1951

Battersea Park Open Air Sculpture Exhibition, 1951

South Bank Exhibition, 1951

Middleheim Sculpture Park, near Antwerp, 1953

Salon de Mai, Paris, 1953

Museum of Modern Art, New Decade Exhibition, New York, 1955

Venice Biennale, 1956

Spoleto Festival, 1962

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, London, 1992 (retrospective)

Tate Britain, London, 2003

Museums and Public Collections

Berman Museum of art at Ursinus College, Pennsylvania

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, United Kingdom

British Council

Cass Sculpture Foundation, Goodwood, United Kingdom

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, United Kingdom

Citroen Factory, Paris

Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England

Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome

Harvard University Art Museums

Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Mildred Lane Kemper art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh

Palm Beach, Florida Airport

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