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

Beast I

Lynn Chadwick, R.A. (1914-2003)
Beast I
signed with an initial and dated 'C 1955' (on the inside of the hind leg)
iron and composition, unique
34½ in. (87.6 cm.) long
Conceived in 1955.
with E. & A. Silberman Galleries, New York.
A gift from Richard Veit to Art Institute of Chicago, 1963.
R. Melville, 'Lynn Chadwick', Quadrum, 2, Brussels, November 1956, p. 99.
G.S. Whittet, 'London Commentary', The Studio, 154, October 1957, p. 124.
H. Read, Lynn Chadwick Artists of our Time, Switzerland, 1960, p. 22, no. 16, pl. 16.
D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, Aldershot, 2006, pp. 110-111, no. 171, illustrated.
Venice, British Council, XXVIII Biennale, June - October 1956.
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

Beast was conceived in 1955 as a unique work in iron and composite. It is typical of Chadwick's ability to create a sculptural metaphor for the essence of animality. Although superficially an abstraction, in that it does not represent a particular kind of beast, the sculpture pulsates with animal vigour. It may be significant that in 1955 Chadwick visited Mykonos and Delos, and saw the weathered remains of the famous avenue of lions at Delos, that have been dated to the second quarter of the sixth century B.C. He greatly admired these ancient sculptures and Beast seems to mirror their menacing posture (exhibition catalogue, Lynn Chadwick, London, Tate Gallery, 2003, pp. 51-52).

Beast was exhibited in one of the rooms in the British Pavilion, alongside eighteen other sculptures by the artist, at the Venice Biennale in 1956. The sculptures were complemented by a selection of twenty pen and wash drawings. Chadwick was awarded the International Sculpture Prize. This came as a surprise to the art world. He was the youngest post-war recipient of the prize and had only really been working in sculpture for six years. Chadwick himself was astonished at his unexpected success. Many expected Alberto Giacometti to win in recognition of a lifetime of achievement and influence. However, certain artists and critics supported Chadwick's success. Alan Bowness wrote: 'Chadwick has been one of the revelations of the Biennale. Quite apart from the distinguished and highly original quality of his imagination, it is the beauty and sensitivity of execution that impresses. He may make use of the "creative accident", but the very sureness of his control makes most modern sculpture look simply incompetent by the side of his work. This Biennale award marks the emergence of Lynn Chadwick as a figure of international artistic importance' (A. Bowness, 'The Venice Biennale', Observer, 24 June 1956, quoted in ibid, p. 44).

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