• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7637

    20th Century British Art

    12 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 144

    Lynn Chadwick, R.A. (1914-2003)

    Maquette for Second Version of Two Dancing Figures

    Price Realised  


    Lynn Chadwick, R.A. (1914-2003)
    Maquette for Second Version of Two Dancing Figures
    iron and composition; unique
    9¼ in. (23.5 cm.) high
    Constructed in 1955-6.

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    The early 1950s were key, pivotal years in Chadwick's career. His first one-man show with Gimpel Fils had taken place in 1950, he had been commissioned to make two large pieces for the Festival of Britain, his maquette had won an honourable mention in the Unknown Political Prisoner Competition and in 1952 he had been selected, along with seven other young sculptors, to represent Great Britain at the 26th Venice Biennale in 1952.

    It was at this time that he began developing a new technique for his sculptures. Using a web of welded rods to create a framework, the interstices of this web was filled with 'Stolit', an industrial artificial stone compound of gypsum and iron powder, which was applied wet like plaster, setting glass-hard. This could then be worked on, coloured or left to weather.

    The subject matter of these early pieces were abstract shapes supported on legs which began to acquire movement, suggesting birds, animals or human figures. The Two Dancing Figures series seem to gain a frenetic expressiveness from the angles of their bodies. Their arms are truncated giving more definition to their shoulders and their heads are reduced to two spikes. The present work is recorded only as a sketch in the catalogue raisonné (fig. 1), two full-size bronze figures were produced, one is in the collection of Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences, Connecticut, USA (op. cit., p. 9). The full-size iron and composition Two Dancing Figures was sold in these rooms on 1 July 1998, lot 21, £210,500.

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    with Gimpel Fils, Paris.
    Jacques Ulmann, Paris, and by descent to the present owner in 1967.


    D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, Aldershot, 2006, pp. 114-5, no. 179, drawing illustrated.