Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003)


Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003)
each stamped with monogram, number and foundry mark 'C, 125 1/9, P.E.' (on a lower edge)
bronze with a brown/black patina, in two parts
(i) 98 x 26 x 38 cm.
(ii) 105 x 26 x 38 cm.
overall: 105 x 52 x 38 cm.
Executed in 1990, this is number one from an edition of nine
Kunsthandel Frans Jacobs, Amsterdam.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2002.
D. Farr & E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick. Sculptor. With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2005, Lund 2006, no. C125, pp. 422-423 (another from the edition illustrated).
Caracas, Galeria Freites, Lynn Chadwick, January-February 1993 (another from the edition exhibited; another from the edition illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

The present lot Stairs features all that Lynn Chadwick is known and admired for: the stillness of movement, the silent interaction between two figures and the standardized bodies. Both figures have the traditional anonymous heads, their familiar angular faces based on diamonds and triangles. Chadwick has discussed the reasons for blanked faces in his work; he understood body language to have a far greater power in conveying mood and character than facial features, which he felt to be limiting. He initially explored the human form by looking in detail at how a figure moves and at the stances they might take, but in the 1970s he started to standardize these figures. Eventually Chadwick developed a kind of visual code, adopting the triangle and square head as a shorthand device for the symbolization of the male and female.
Commenting in 1991, the sculptor revealed, 'the important thing in my figures is always the attitude - what the figures are expressing through their actual stance. They talk, as it were, and this is something a lot of people don't understand' (L. Chadwick in an interview with Barrie Gavin broadcast on HTV West, 1991). Chadwick redefined the way human forms can be represented in sculpture, 'seeking not to replicate pre-existing organisms but to construct new creatures and beings, relying solely on his instinct and manual proficiency' (N. Rogers, exhibition catalogue, Lynn Chadwick: Evolution in Sculpture, Kendal and Bowness-on-Windermere, Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Blackwell, 2013, p. 6).

Chadwick clearly differentiates the genders; whilst he gives male figures square and muscular shoulders, female figures are more lightly built and their shoulders slope away at a far softer angle. The postural issue of movement versus inertia was raised by Alan Bowness as early as 1962 who spoke of Chadwick's 'progressive elimination of movement from sculpture and the static and statuesque qualities of his work' (A. Bowness, Lynn Chadwick, London, 1962).
The sculptor was particularly interested in paired figures; having first approached the theme in the 1950s, it continued to occupy him throughout his career. Instead of combining a male and a female figure, in Stairs, Chadwick has chosen to portray two female figures, to show how the body descends and ascends a pair of steps. The work combines symmetry and a-symmetry at once, through the epitomized form of the female figure.

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