Lynn Chadwick was born in London in 1914. He attended the Merchant Taylors’ School, and after taking his School Certificate stayed on to study drawing, watercolour and oil painting. He was then sent to Vouvray to study French. From 1933 to 1939 he worked as an architectural draughtsman in London, then spent some time as a farm labourer before volunteering for the Fleet Air Arm and gaining a commission (1941-44).
After the war he produced textile, furniture and architectural designs, and his first mobile sculpture constructed from aluminium and balsa wood was shown at a Building Trades Exhibition in 1947. He began to make sculpture, and had his first exhibition with Gimpel Fils in London in 1950. In 1953 he was one of the twelve semifinalists for the Unknown Political Prisoner International Sculpture Competition, in which he was awarded an honourable mention and prize. By 1956 his reputation as a sculptor was confirmed internationally when he won the International Prize for Sculpture at the XXVIII Venice Biennale in 1956. More prizes and accolades followed as his career developed, including being awarded the CBE in 1964.
His approach to sculpture is based in construction rather than modelling. Chadwick first makes a linear armature or skeleton on to which he applies a skin, building up the surface to a solid form. Earlier works featured a textured finish, but his latest pieces have a smoother, more refined surface, and geometry has replaced more organic form. His subject-matter ranges from the human form, abstracted but readily recognised, to animals – general types rather than specific creatures.
He passed away in 2003, at the age of 88 years old.Download the artist biography