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Lynn Chadwick, R.A. (1914-2003)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE TUTTLEMAN COLLECTION
Lynn Chadwick, R.A. (1914-2003)

First Girl Sitting on Bench

Details
Lynn Chadwick, R.A. (1914-2003)
First Girl Sitting on Bench
stamped with signature and numbered 'CHADWICK C68 1/9' (on the side of the base) and stamped with the Burleighfield foundry mark 'B' (on the front of the base)
bronze with a black patina
45 in. (114.3 cm.) wide
Conceived in 1988.
Provenance
with Nan Miller Gallery, New York, November 1986, where purchased by the present owners.
Literature
D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor: with a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2003, Farnham, 2014, pp. 376-377, no. C68, another cast illustrated.
Exhibited
Bath, Beaux Arts, April 1989, another cast exhibited, catalogue not traced.
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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William Porter
William Porter

Lot Essay

I look upon an artist as a person who is in contact with humanity generally and is able to act as a sort of connecting link to express to them how they are(L. Chadwick in P. Levine, Lynn Chadwick, Leiden, 1988, p. 104).

The 1970s and 80s marked a period of self-reflection in Lynn Chadwick’s career starting with a visit to his own retrospective at the Tate in 1973. In 1988, when First Girl Sitting on Bench was conceived, 32 years after he won the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale, Chadwick was invited to produce a bronze for a special survey of international sculpture to be held alongside the XLIII Biennale. This selection celebrated Chadwick’s position amongst the leading sculptors of his time and marked the fruitful period of his mature works.

After a decade of pursuing non representational pieces and assemblage works, from the 1970s onwards the human figure became central to Chadwick's ouevre. He 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 created his own artistic code with geometric forms becoming increasingly gendered with pyramids and rectangles for the female and male figures’ heads respectively. In First Girl Sitting on Bench, the pyramidal head, together with the symmetrically falling cloak create an angular aesthetic showcasing the sculptor’s particular obsession with the triangular form. Some have argued that it stemmed from his architectural background, others have noted that there was an additional mystical dimension to this choice. It was known that Chadwick showed interest in the work of the writer Max Freedom Long, whose book The Secret Science behind Miracles focusing on the Hawaiian kahuna religion, he is thought to have read in the 50s. In the book the writer argues: ‘the real meaning of the three sides of the triangle representing the three selves of man, may have been lost or misunderstood, but the symbol was retained and revealed. In Egypt the pyramids presented to the world the four faces of the triangular form’ (M.F. Long, The Secret Science behind Miracles, Rockville, 2009, p.183). Indeed the hieratic stillness and formality of First Girl Sitting on Bench allude to Egyptian monumental sculptures and in Chadwick’s case the possible influence of South Pacific art.

The sculptor was eager to capture not only the figure’s physical presence, but its emotional plane too. He was particularly concerned with the expressiveness of the postures. In an interview with Dennis Farr, Chadwick argues that he was most interested in ‘the way you can make something almost talk by the way the neck is bent, the attitude of the head’ (L. Chadwick, quoted in M. Bird, Lynn Chadwick, Surrey, 2014, p. 22). In First Girl Sitting on Bench, the figure’s feet stretch in a relaxed fashion alluding to a state of repose, but with her back straight and strong in an authoritative manner. While the figure is looking outwards, her contemplative pose is imbued with self-consciousness which draws the viewer inward.

Self-taught as a sculptor, Chadwick created his own technique constructing metal frames for his figures and filling the planes with stolit an industrial artificial stone compound of gypsum and iron powder, which is applied wet in layers like plaster. From the 60s onwards he started casting his stolit metal constructions in bronze and from 1971 he was closely involved with the casting process and patination, having set up a small foundry in his home studio in Lypiatt. Looking closely at the back and sides of First Girl Sitting on Bench one notices a rhythm of evenly spaced vertical folds between a sequence of ribbed horizontal volutes, where the sculptor has dragged a French plasterer’s comb through the stolit. After the casting in bronze some of these features have been smoothened off in places, a feature which adds to the organic feel of the work. While the earlier figures from the 70s are characterised by predominantly bland and matt surfaces, here the maturity of the artist’s style is manifested by the great subtlety of modelling in the folds of the falling drapery and a beautifully rich texture with intricate details of ribbed horizontal volutes. First Girl Sitting on Bench, with its angular composition imbued with a strong emotional charge, embodies the mastery of Chadwick’s mature works.

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