Lynn Chadwick

Kenny Ackerman

chadwickBritish, 1914-2003

Lynn Chadwick was an English sculptor and artist best known for his semi-abstract human and animal figures in bronze and steel. Chadwick was born in London, and expressed interest in becoming a sculptor at an early age. Architecture was suggested to him as a more realistic career aspiration, leading him to become a trainee draughtsman. Chadwick did not attend art school; his training in architectural drawing was the only formal artistic education he received. After a stint as a military pilot in the Second World War, Chadwick returned to his budding architectural career, though he was never able to lay sculpting aside.

In 1949, Chadwick exhibited one of his mobile sculptures in Gimpel Fils, a London art gallery which promoted emerging British modernists. His first one-man show was held there the following year, earning him praise from critics as well as a number of major commissions, including one for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Chadwick was selected as a lead sculptor to represent Britain at the 1956 Venice Biennale, where he surpassed favorite Alberto Giacometti to win the International Sculpture Prize. As the youngest ever recipient of the prize, Chadwick was thought of as a successor to Henry Moore as Britain’s preeminent sculptor. The Biennale bolstered Chadwick’s artistic reputation enormously both at home and abroad; the exhibition soon toured Europe, and in 1957 Chadwick held his first solo show in the United States.

chadwick-iiChadwick solidified his artistic style and method during the 1950s and 1960s, exploring subject matter ranging from insect and animal forms to sculptural groups of male and female figures. In the 1960s, Chadwick began to work in a more abstracted, geometric style, a trend which continued in later decades. Chadwick perfected various welding techniques, producing sculptures in bronze, iron, and steel.

Lynn Chadwick retired from sculpting in 1995. He died in 2003, the same year he was given a major retrospective at Tate Britain. In 2014, the centenary of Chadwick’s birth, a catalogue raisonné was published, and major exhibitions were held in London, Berlin, and New York. Chadwick’s sculptures reside in a number of major museum collections, including that of the Tate in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and MoMA in New York.