Lynn Chadwick U.K., 1914-2003

"Art must be the manifestation of some vital force coming from the dark, caught by the imagination and translated by the artist's ability and skill … Whatever the final shape, the force behind is … indivisible. When we philosophise upon this force we lose sight of it. The intellect alone is too clumsy to grasp it." - Lynn Chadwick

Lynn Chadwick was an English artist known for his innovative bronze and steel sculptures of abstracted and expressive figures and animals. Chadwick's method is considered unique in his choice not to sketch his sculpture beforehand, preferring instead to improvise and weld metal without a specific plan in place.


He was born on November 24, 1914 in Barnes (London) and studied as an apprentice architect under Roger Thomas, who would encourage him towards sculpture. Chadwick's earliest sculptures were fragile mobiles constructed with balsa wood, copper, and brass, not unlike those of Aexander Calder.


Chadwick was part of a generation of British sculptors who surprised audiences at the 1952 Venice Biennale by breaking with the tradition of carving sculpture from wood or stone. Instead, he welded iron and bronze rods into expressionistic, figurative works inspired by the human form and animals that nonetheless hovered close to abstraction. He rejected what he saw as the amorphousness of stone, preferring to work with iron because it allowed him to "do a three dimensional drawing…which has a very definite shape." In that sense, his work shared something with architecture (the field he originally pursued in his early career).


In 1985 Chadwick helped to establish the foundry Pangolin Editions (Gloucestershire, UK) with which he used to cast his body of work. Later, the foundry cast and fabricated sculpture for YBAs Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas, amongst others.



In 1950, Chadwick had his first major exhibition of his mobiles at Gimpel Fils gallery, which led to significant critical attention. The artist was then chosen to represent Britain at the 1956 Venice Biennale and was awarded its International Sculpture Prize, becoming its then-youngest recipient. He debuted his first steel sculpture, Two Winged Figures, for an outdoor show in 1962, and his works from this period are noted from their combination of abstract detail and natural forms. He was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1964 and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 1993. He died on April 25, 2003 in Gloucestershire, England.