Lynn Chadwick 1914-2003

Osborne Samuel have for many years been closely associated with the work of Lynn Chadwick and have held exhibitions at galleries and museums in the UK and Internationally. We have also published many catalogues and books on the artist, working in conjunction with the Lynn Chadwick Estate.

Winning the International Prize for Sculpture at the 1956 Venice Biennale, when it was expected to go to Giacometti (who eventually won it in 1962), was a remarkable achievement for a sculptor who, like Butler, was ‘self-taught’ and had had an exhibiting career of scarcely a single decade. But in truth Chadwick had had a wish to become an artist from the early 1930’s, but had been persuaded by his father to pursue furniture and textile design and architectural draughtmanship in the Depression years. After war service as a Fleet Air Arm pilot, he resumed working with a design firm and began to make mobiles for trade shows in wood, perspex and aluminium. Enrolling on a welding course with the British Oxygen Company (as Butler would also do) in 1950 assisted him in producing two signal and substantial mobiles in 1951, ’Dragonfly’ and ‘Fisheater’, amongst others. In essence these demonstrated his difference from, and his different pathway to, mobile sculpture compared with that of Alexander Calder, to whom Chadwick’s work of this period has often been misleadingly compared.

While Calder usually hand-cut rounded and oval painted shapes, and spaced them out in evocative patterns on simple wire frameworks, Chadwick’s geometric, interlocking shapes appeared to be cut from a single sheet and, in the 1951 mobiles, anchored by an elaborate, rigid, constructed framework of iron rods, suggestive of the insect or marine form of its title. In the following year, developing this constructed framework of forged and welded rods brought his sculpture down to earth on poised, skeletal legs, foreshadowing the future character of his work. ‘Diamond Lil’ and the several variants of the large ‘Inner Eye’ that would be purchased by Alfred Barr for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, introduced quasi-modelled iron sheets sheltering a solid glass fragment held in the claws of iron rods. In this brief phase Chadwick could be said to come closest to Read’s ‘geometry of fear’, these works suggesting the remains of a delicate living thing which had been incinerated down to its bare bone structure, revealing a mysterious diamond-hard transparent core, whose very origin and function were unknowable. ... read more

Lynn Chadwick Exhibition Catalogue 2019 Exhibition Catalogue 2019

Lynn Chadwick Prints


Lynn Chadwick: Untitled