Numbered C49 1/9
Bronze with a rich dark brown patina
Length: 8 1/4" (21 cm)
Conceived and cast in 1986
Edition 1 of 9
Gifted directly by Lynn Chadwick to the former owner
Lynn Chadwick was born on 24 November 1914 in London. Chadwick showed a passion for the visual arts in his youth, however redirecting it towards the study of architecture early in his career.
After serving as a pilot with the Fleet Air Arm from 1941-1944, Chadwick started working in an architect’s practice while pursuing his sculptural explorations. In 1950, he had his first one-man exhibition at the Gimpel Fils gallery in London, launching his career.
In 1952, Chadwick took part together to the Venice Biennale, exhibiting his works next to Edward Meadows, Reg Butler and Eduardo Paolozzi in the Biennale’s British Pavillion. One year later, he was one of the twelve semifinalists for the Unknown Political Prisoner International Sculpture Competition, for which he was awarded an honorable mention and prize.
In 1956 Chadwick was the sole artist chosen to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale, where he won the International Prize for Sculpture, beating Alberto Giacometti.
Chadwick was made Commander of the British Empire in 1964 and an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1993. He was elected Senior Royal Academician in 2001. In 2003 the Tate held a major retrospective of his work, highlighting his influential status in the development of modern British sculpture.
Chadwick’s approach to sculpture came from his architectural training. Basing his figures on construction rather than modelling, the artist would first create a linear armature or skeleton. The stark surfaces that characterize the artist’s work were then created after this preparatory stage. This is particularly evident in the present piece.
In Lion II, we see Chadwick exploring the animal form through geometrical construction. The result of this is a compelling abstraction of the subject, which morphs into a non-organic shape, somewhat reminiscent of heavy weaponry. The representation of the lion’s masculinity, ferociousness and alertness are here translated into a commentary of human technological advancement, typical of Chadwick’s output.