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


Lynn Chadwick, R.A. (1914-2003)
curved copper, steel rods and wood
40 in. (101.6 cm.) wide
Conceived in 1951.
Acquired by the present owner's mother direct from the sculptor in the 1950s, and by descent.
D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, Aldershot, 2006, p. 72, no. 58, drawing of the model.
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Lot Essay

Writing in The Studio, a year after Mobile was constructed, Mary Sorrell offers a contemporary explanation of Chadwick's mobiles, 'Chadwick considers that this art derives not from sculpture proper, which might be said to displace space, but from space-frames and constructions that enclose it. Mobiles are not the only kind of modern sculpture to do this but they are, perhaps, alone in indicating, describing and circumscribing forms which transcend the limits of their materials. His training as an architect has had its influence upon his work, but whereas architecture demands repose and an organic harmony with landscape, mobile sculpture requires a living, almost breathing, movement ... a gallery filled with mobiles in quick or gentle motion is a strange land, and spontaneity of their improvisations in airy fantasy casts a spell over the room' (see The Studio, September 1952, pp. 76-79).

Discussing Fisheater, 1951 (commissioned by the Arts Council, collection Tate, London), Mary Sorrell describes '... mobiles of a more delicate conception made up of rods, wires, fish cut-outs in verdigris-ed copper sheet, and [...] wooden balls. The fish shape in various materials is one of Chadwick's favourite expressions and it is an appropriate one, because the gliding-darting animation of the whole has much in common with amphibian and biological creatures. Other mobiles conjure up the forms of moths, spiders, dragonflies and grasshoppers that tread the air with astonishing beauty and as gracefully as dancers. A touch or a faint breeze sets them in motion, and a cine-film would be the most faithful means of reproducing their elusive activity' (ibid.).

By the mid 1950s, Chadwick's career had taken off and momentum was gathering. His first exhibited mobile was at Gimpel Fils in London in August 1949 and in June 1950, the gallery gave him his first one-man show. In 1951 he had been commissioned to make three large mobile constructions for the Festival of Britain, one of which was Fisheater (see above). In 1952 he held his second one-man show at Gimpels and at the Galerie de France in Paris as well as being included in the British Council exhibition at the Venice Biennale, New Aspects of British Sculpture with key sculptors including Robert Adams, Kenneth Armitage, Reg Butler, Geoffrey Clarke, Bernard Meadows, Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull. By 1953 Chadwick was creating solid, (rather than open) sculpture by introducing iron and plaster or iron and composition pieces. By 1956 Chadwick's reputation was assured when he won the International Prize for sculpture at that year's Venice Biennale.
Chadwick, writing in the mid 1950s wrote, 'If I look back on my work over a period of years, I can see a development from mobiles and constructions, on to beaten shapes with limbs and collections, to the solid forms on which I'm now working. It seems there has been a deliberate continuity, as if the mobiles had been a research into space and volume (separate parts free in space), and the constructions had been a way of joining the parts together, fixing them in space to make forms, and that these constructions have become armatures for the solid shapes - the iron frames of the construction still delineate the mass and act as lines of tension' (see The New Decade: 22 European painters and sculptors, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1955).

Mobile was acquired directly from Chadwick during the 1950s by the present owner's mother, who was a close friend and neighbour of Chadwick's.

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