With a boldly distinctive style and an iconic visual language, Lynn Chadwick is one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and important British sculptors. Born in London in 1914, Chadwick trained as a draughtsman at an architectural office, before enlisting with the British Royal Navy during WWII. In 1947, safely reinstalled in London at the offices of architect Rodney Thomas, Chadwick completed construction on his first mobile and established himself as a sculptor.
His art career began on an illustrious note when, only six years after his first solo exhibition at Gimpel Fils Gallery in 1950, he was awarded the prestigious International Sculpture Prize at the XXVII Venice Biennale in 1956. Only 42 years old at the time, Chadwick was the youngest sculptor ever to receive the honor. His victory caused quite a sensation and brought significant attention to Chadwick, cementing his reputation as a master of Modern British sculpture.
A Developing Aesthetic
The decades that followed saw Chadwick experimenting with different media and evolving themes. Maquette Jubilee II is an excellent example of the artist’s mature work. The multi-figure composition displays many elements of Chadwick’s unique visual language. Utilizing his own pictorial code, he assigns the female figure a triangular head and the male figure a rectangular one. The artist seemingly draws in metal, creating figures whose sharp angles and powerful volumes activate and engage the space around them, as if the artist not only cast the bronze but also carved the space around it.
This sense of dynamism and movement was critically important to Chadwick and, as Dennis Farr notes in the 2003 Tate Modern exhibition catalogue, “Walking Figures, their cloaks or robes blowing out behind them provided Chadwick with a theme capable of sustaining endless variations, of which Maquette Jubilee II is a particularly dramatic example.” Indeed, the sense of motion in Maquette Jubilee II is unmistakable. The figures in Maquette Jubilee II stride forward with a purposeful energy, their wind-blown robes in the shapes of “elaborate butterfly wing[s]…supporting them…but…imbued with a baroque exuberance that transcends the merely practical.”
The present piece relates to several Chadwick editioned sculptures of similar subject and style, including 1985’s Jubilee IV and 1977’s Pair of Walking Figures – Jubilee, examples of which can be found at Le Parc du Château, Saint-Priest in Lyon, France, and at the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City.
Freeman’s is excited to offer Maquette Jubilee II at the upcoming Modern & Contemporary Art Auction on May 16th.
 (D. Farr, Lynn Chadwick (exhibition catalogue), Tate Britain, London, 2003- 04, p. 79).
To be offered May 16th: Lynn Chadwick (British, 1914-2003) “Maquette Jubilee II.” Estimate: $400,000-600,000.