Pair of Sitting Figures 1

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Osborne Samuel Gallery, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Dennis Farr & Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2003, Farnham, 2014, no. 654s, p. 294 (illustrated)
    Dennis Farr and Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2005, Aldershot 2006, no. 654s, p. 288 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Lynn Chadwick, CBE RA was one of the leading British post-war sculptors. Trained as an architectural draughtsman, he created starkly expressive sculptures through "drawing in steel rods" (the artist quoted in Michael Bird, Lynn Chadwick, Farnham, 2014, p. 8), which became welded armatures for his distinctive semi-abstract bronze and steel sculptures.

    Chadwick started out creating mobiles constructed of wire, balsa wood and cut copper and brass shapes, before moving on to creating grounded "stabiles" akin to those of Alexander Calder. His critical breakthrough came swiftly, with his first major exhibition of his mobiles at Gimpel Fils gallery in 1950, and major recognition followed just a few years later when he was awarded the coveted International Sculpture Prize at the 1956 Venice Biennale, becoming its then-youngest recipient. Recalling this period, Chadwick said:

    “I actually wanted to produce a sort of touchable object, a tangible object. I really wanted to do that rather than be involved with intangible things like architecture which was slightly intangible to me because it had meant, in my case, drawing after drawing after drawing for projects which were never realised. In my case, I wanted to do it to have some reality in front of me” (the artist quoted in Paul Levine, Lynn Chadwick: The Sculptor and His World; The Artist and His Work, Leiden, 1988, p. 55).

    Chadwick experimented with other natural forms, insect and animal, but by the end of the 1960s he largely devoted his time to working on groups of human figures such as Pair of Sitting Figures 1. These figurative sculptures were influenced by the Easter Island figures and Greek mythology. Half human and half abstract, geometric beast, they were a visual embodiment of the classical dichotomy between the Apollonian and Dionysiac: the rational, ordered being and its struggle against the emotional, the irrational and the chaotic. The English art historian Herbert Read noted that since Chadwick's rise to critical acclaim, his works had ventured yet further towards a "preoccup[ation] with states of attention or alertness in the human figure or the animal. His aim is to incorporate a moment of maximum intensity, and this he does by the most direct means – the reduction of bodily attitudes to their magnetic lines of force" (the artist quoted in Judith Collins, Lynn Chadwick: the Collection at Lypiatt Park, New York, 2006, p. 22).

    Pair of Sitting Figures 1 is a tribute to a simple and age-old theme: enduring love and companionship. Despite their mute facelessness (in the 1970s Chadwick developed a simple, striking system for distinguishing male and female subjects, depicting men with rectangular heads and women with triangular ones), Pair of Sitting Figures 1 exudes a distinctly vulnerable, human quality. Though sat apart, cloaked literally and metaphorically, both figures speak of an intimacy and closeness with tilted knees and bowed heads, caught in eternal conversation.

    Chadwick's distinctive sculptural technique throws into sharp relief the very human essence of emotion: “the way that you make something talk by the way the neck is bent, or the attitude of the head; you can actually make these sculptures talk, they say something according to the exact balance” (the artist quoted in Dennis Farr and Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculpture, with a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-2003, Farnham, 2014, p.28). Cast in bronze, Chadwick used a matt patina over most of the sculpture, but with faces (or sometimes chests) burnished to a golden, otherworldly sheen. His foray into naturalism, with pleated drapery in Pair of Sitting Figures 1 (sometimes billowing, for example in Pair of Walking Figures – Jubilee 1977) brings a touch of poignant realism to the scene, an unresolved tension that renders the work's impact both immediate and timeless.

    Today Chadwick's sculptures and drawings form part of many of the most distinguished museum collections of the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

  • Catalogue Essay

    林恩‧查德維克是戰後時期英國重要的雕塑家之一。受過建築草圖繪製員的訓練,他所創造的雕塑充滿鮮明表現力,「用鋼枝作畫」(藝術家,摘自 麥可.博德,《林恩‧查德維克》,法納姆,2014年,第8頁),將它們焊接後,再製成其獨特的半抽象青銅和鋼鐵雕塑。


    「我實際上想要創造一種可觸摸的、有形的物件。這是我的興趣及熱情所在,而不是去參與比如建築這種無形的事物中,建築對我來說是無形的,因為,以我的情況,意味著不斷在為永遠無法實現的項目畫草圖。就個人而言,我要做的是能夠將現實擺在眼前的事」(藝術家,摘自Paul Levine,《林恩‧查德維克:雕塑家與他的世界;藝術家與他的作品》,萊頓,1988年,第55頁)。

    查德維克嘗試了對其他自然形態、昆蟲和動物進行實驗,然而到1960年代末他將其大部分時間投入到了成對的人像創作中,例如《靜坐雙人像1號》(Pair of Sitting Figures 1)。這些具象雕塑是受到復活島的石像和希臘神話的影響。一半是人,一半是抽象、幾何形的野獸,他們是對典型的太陽神與酒神二元對立的視覺體現:理性、節制的存在與其狂熱、非理性和混亂之間的對抗。英國藝術史學家赫伯特·里德自查德維克開始獲得評論界的認可伊始便指出,他的作品在進一步邁向「對人體和或動物的專注或警覺。他的目標是融入一瞬間最大化的強烈,而他通過最直接的方式達到——將身體的姿態減至其最誘人的力量」(藝術家,摘自Judith Collins,《林恩‧查德維克:利皮亞特公园系列》,紐約,2006年,第22頁)。


    查德維克獨特的雕塑技巧將人性化的情感本質展現得一覽無餘:「通過彎下脖子,或頭的姿勢來讓一件東西開口說話;你真的可以讓這些雕塑說話,它們根據確切的平衡而述說」(藝術家,摘自Dennis Farr和Eva Chadwick, 《林恩‧查德維克雕塑,含完整的插圖目錄,1947至2003年》,法納姆,2014年,第28頁)。以鑄銅製作,查德維克將雕塑的大部分上了一層消光銅綠,但將臉部(或有時是胸部)打磨出金色的、超凡脫俗的光澤。他對自然主義的涉足,通過《靜坐雙人像1號》中垂下的百褶(有時則是翻滾起伏狀,例如《行走人像一對-歡慶日1977》)為場景添加了顯著的真實感,一種凝滯的張力使作品呈現即時又永恆的影響力。


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Pair of Sitting Figures 1

incised with the artist's name, date and number 'CHADWICK 654/S 5/6 87' along the edge
63 x 66 x 56 cm (24 3/4 x 25 7/8 x 22 in.)
Executed in 1987, this work is number 5 from an edition of 6.

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

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Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019