LYNN CHADWICK, R.A. (1914-2003)
LYNN CHADWICK, R.A. (1914-2003)
LYNN CHADWICK, R.A. (1914-2003)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN COLLECTION
LYNN CHADWICK, R.A. (1914-2003)

Stairs

Details
LYNN CHADWICK, R.A. (1914-2003)
Stairs
stamped with monogram and foundry mark (on the lower edge of each figure's skirt), numbered 'C125S 2/9' (on the back of each top step)
bronze with a dark brown and polished patina
41 in. (104.1 cm.) high
Conceived in 1990 and cast by Pangolin Editions, Stroud in 1991.
Provenance
with Waterhouse and Dodd, London, where purchased by the present owner in February 2018.
Literature
D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor: With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2003, Farnham, 2014, p. 412, no. C125S.
Exhibited
Osaka, Gallery Nii, October 1991, 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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Lot Essay

Chadwick understood body language to have a far greater power in conveying mood and character than facial features, which he felt to be limiting, opting instead to describe them with an economy of form. He initially explored human stature by studying in detail how figures move, and in the 1970s started to distil the stances he had observed into standardised artistic terms. Eventually Chadwick developed his own visual language, adopting the triangle and square head as a shorthand device to symbolise the female and male physiognomy.

Stairs features all that Lynn Chadwick is known and admired for: the composure of the figure, the clearly defined movement, the silent interaction between two figures, and the aforementioned visual code. Both figures have the traditional anonymous faces, in this case triangles for women. The sinuous curvature of the female form is accentuated through Chadwick’s rendering of his medium, both figures mirroring each other’s gentle serpentine curves as they alternately ascend and descend the stairs. Through consideration of the clearly defined modelling of the figures with almost silhouetted torsos, the focus moves to the mood, positioning, and placement of the figures in relation to each other and to us, the viewer.

Chadwick 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. Although the two elements of the sculpture are intended to be placed side by side so that the figures pass each other, they can be positioned independently of each other, so that each has a presence of its own.

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, Abbot Hall, 2013, p. 6).We are very grateful to Sarah Chadwick for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.
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