b. 1914, Barnes, London, England
d. 2003, Lypiatt Park, Gloucestershire, England
Lynn Chadwick was an English artist and sculptor. Originally trained as an architectural draughtsman, Chadwick began producing metal mobile sculptures during the 1940s. In 1949, Gimpel Fils placed two of these structures in their gallery window, and they were an instant sensation. Chadwick received his first solo exhibition at the gallery the following year, and following the success of the show, he was commissioned to produce three works: two for the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition, and one for the British Arts Council.
In the 1950s a debate raged, pitching “constructed” sculpture against “modeled” or “carved” sculpture. Chadwick was in the former camp; Henry Moore, for example, was in the latter. After years as a draftsman, Chadwick’s works were technically very refined. Chadwick often said that for him making sculpture was a matter of finding a solution to a problem. The art historian Dennis Farr commented, “Chadwick looked for geometry and tension, even in his animalist work, and tries constantly to avoid a static quality.”
Chadwick’s position amongst twentieth-century British artists was underlined by his pivotal contribution to the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale of 1952, when he exhibited with Robert Adams, Kenneth Armitage, Reg Butler, Bernard Meadows, Eduardo Paolozzi, and William Turnbull. In 1956, Chadwick would return to Venice and win the International Prize for Sculpture. Subsequent shows and touring Arts Council exhibitions brought his work to a global audience.
In 2003, the year of Chadwick’s death, the Tate honored him with a major retrospective. Today Chadwick’s work can be found in the collections of the Tate Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London; the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.