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  • Provenance

    Miguel Otero Silva, Venezuela
    Private Collection, Venezuela

  • Exhibited

    London, Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., Lynn Chadwick, November - December 1961, no. 2, n.p. (another example illustrated and exhibited )
    New York, Knoedler Galleries, Lynn Chadwick, 3 - 28 January 1961, n.p. (another example illustrated and exhibited )

  • Literature

    Oberlin College Bulletin, 15/102, Winter 1958, p. 69
    Les Beaux-Arts, 946 – 947, October 1961, p. 10
    Charlotte Parry-Crooke, ed., Contemporary Artists with Photographs by Walia, London, 1979, n.p (another example illustrated)
    Martin H. Bush, Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, 1980, p. 29 (another example illustrated)
    Dennis Farr and Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick. Sculptor, Oxford, 1990, no. 227, p. 150 (another example illustrated)
    Dennis Farr and Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick. Sculptor, Aldershot, 2006, cat. no. 227, p. 130-131 (another example illustrated, p. 131)
    Lynn Chadwick. The Sculptures at Lypiatt Park, London, 2014, no. 84 (another example illustrated, p. 84)

    We are grateful to Dr Sarah Chadwick for her assistance with the cataloging of this work.

  • Catalogue Essay

    A seminal theme in the British sculptor Lynn Chadwick’s oeuvre, Teddy Boy and Girl II is a defining three-dimensional masterpiece of post-war British sculpture. Encompassing a new modern aesthetic in a world rebuilding itself after the turmoil of the Second World War, the present work was commissioned by Venezuelan writer, journalist and politician Miguel Otero Silva, after viewing a smaller variation of the work at the 1957 to 1959 travelling exhibition Ten Young British Sculptors. The exhibition featured Chadwick’s sculptural work alongside a selection of artist contemporaries, namely Kenneth Armitage, Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull. Organised by the British Council, the exhibition began at Sao Paulo’s IV Biennial of the Museum of Modern Art, where Chadwick’s work was shown alongside the paintings of William Scott and Peter Lanyon. The exhibition travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago and Lima, finally concluding in Caracas. Housed in the collection of Otero Silva, a patron of Caracas’ Galería de Arte Nacional which opened in 1976, the present work is the first of the four works from the edition borne from Otero Silva’s commission and is the only work to include a base plate, making the work a rare and life size formulation of one of the artist’s key sculptural concerns: the Teddy Boy and Girl.

    Chadwick’s Teddy Boy and Girl formations can be traced throughout the great landmarks of the artist’s practice. Chadwick received the hors concours at the Sao Paulo IV Biennal, the first British artist to receive this accolade, whereby he exhibited a selection of works, which included Maquette III Teddy Boy and Girl. Following this travelling show, a cast from the present edition was exhibited at the artist’s self-titled exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, London, his largest grouping of works after his seminal exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1956. Winning the International Sculpture Prize at Venice in 1956 over Alberto Giacometti, just one year prior to the conception of the present work, Chadwick established his artistic practice in the narrative of art history on a worldwide stage. As Alan Bowness expressed to the Observer in June 1956, in response to Chadwick’s exposure in Venice, 'Chadwick has been one of the revelations of the Biennale. Quite apart from the distinguished and highly original quality of his imagination, it is the beauty and sensitivity of execution that impresses. He may make use of the "creative accident" but the very sureness of his control makes most modern sculpture look simply incompetent by the side of his work. This Biennale award marks the emergence of Lynn Chadwick as a figure of international artistic importance' (Alan Bowness, 'The Venice Biennale,' Observer, 24 June 1956, in Dennis Farr, Lynn Chadwick, Tate, London, 2003, p. 44). In the lead up to his selection for Venice, Chadwick embarked on the Teddy Boy and Girl series, eventually exhibiting one from an edition of nine works titled Teddy Boy and Girl, executed in 1955, at the Biennale; others from this edition are housed in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection, New York, and also the Royal Academy of Arts collection, London. Following his critical success at the Biennale, Chadwick was offered his first American exhibition at the Saidenberg Gallery, New York, where, in preparation, he revisited his Teddy Boy and Girl works, creating Teddy Boy and Girl II, a slightly smaller variation of the present sculpture, one of which is now housed in the Caldic Collection, Holland. A defining motif from the artist’s oeuvre, variants of the Teddy Boy and Girl combination act as signposts, navigating us throughout the key turning points of Chadwick’s prolific career.

    Teddy Boy and Girl II depicts two upright figures, facing each other at an angle, lithe and alert in static tension. The title of the sculpture references a British youth subculture which emerged in the fifties, namely the Teddies, who were inspired by the Rock n’ Roll teenage ethos which swept across Europe and the United States, liberating young people from the constrictive and out-moded traditional notions of the past. The teenagers sought to break free from the social dicta inextricably associated to their parents’ generation of wartime, rationing and austerity, norms which, in their eyes, had led to two World Wars and the continental tension of the Cold War. Inspired visually by the styling of dandies in the Edwardian period, the Teds are imitative of flamboyance and flair, donning themselves in drain-pipe pants, crisp white socks, suede shoes, a heightened pompadour hairstyle and an iconic Edwardian jacket. As Michael Bird writes, ‘Teddy Boys gained a reputation as dangerous outlaw-dandies, who didn’t take much provocation to flourish flick-knives and knuckledusters concealed in their tailored pockets’ (Michael Bird, Lynn Chadwick, London, 2014, p. 78). Without the sculptural indication of their stylish frills, the duo’s jackets in the present work are rendered in a geometric cladding, executed in a figurative abstract style typical of the artist’s practice. The stance of Chadwick’s two forms, who appear to be dancing, also link them to the Teds; the young couple would most likely be moving to the beat of Rock n’ Roll and as a culture would link themselves both fashionably and musically to the style and sounds of Elvis Presley and Bill Haley. Deeply concerned with creating tension between two figures, Chadwick’s boy and girl appear poised, one figure with its arms outstretched as if ready to break into motion.

    Chadwick’s synthesis of popular culture and fine art broke with traditional notions of sculpture, with its revered associations with classicism and realism. By rendering his figures in welded iron and bronze rods, Chadwick breaks traditionally from the sculptural practice of carving and instead defines his human and animal forms by an almost skeletal abstraction. As art critic Ken Johnson notes, ‘In the 1950s [Chadwick] developed a spiky vocabulary of skeletal lines and rough planes organized into generalized images of people or animals that evoked feelings of pain, rage and fear’ (Ken Johnson, ‘Lynn Chadwick, a Sculptor, Is Dead at 88,’ The New York Times, 4 May 2003). Covered in coarse finery with linear patterns, Chadwick’s forms appear to be wearing armour-like garments, bridging the gap between Moore’s 1940s drapery and progressive cubist abstraction. His surreal figures captured the contemporary zeitgeist, encompassing the rebellion of the Teddies whose presence could be found in any town throughout the United Kingdom. Conveying the youthful spirit of the time and proudly celebrating popular culture, Chadwick’s work, like his Independent Group contemporaries, referenced the everyday, drawing on the visual vernacular of the time. It is this radical flair which led to Chadwick’s inclusion of the infamous 1952 New Aspects of British Sculpture at the British Pavilion in Venice and cemented Teddy Boy and Girl as one of the most important sculptures in twentieth century art.

15

Teddy Boy and Girl II

incised with the artist's signature and numbered 'Chadwick 1/4' lower front edge of the male figure; further incised with the foundry mark ‘Susse Fondeur Paris’ lower reverse edge of the female figure
bronze
199.5 x 73 x 66.5 cm (78 1/2 x 28 3/4 x 26 1/8 in.)
Conceived in 1957 and cast by Susse Fondeur, Paris, in 1961, this work is number 1 from an edition of 4.

Estimate
£800,000 - 1,200,000 ‡ ♠

sold for £909,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061 hhighley@phillips.com

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2018