LONDON – Sculptures of beasts and figures descend on London, Berlin and New York as a tribute to Lynn Chadwick’s centenary year.

Closest to home, a strong selection of works by Chadwick feature in the Modern and Post-war British Art sale on 10-11 June, including the unique stolit and iron Three Standing Figures of 1955, which was included in Arnold Bode’s important exhibition Documenta in Kassel, a show that presented the best of modern and contemporary art to a generation who had been deprived to cutting-edge visual art during the Nazi era. Other key examples include an early bronze from 1955 entitled Beast and a selection of later figures from the 1970s. The Sotheby’s sale is one of many exhibitions, which are currently showing across the country and internationally to mark the anniversary of Chadwick’s birth.

Lynn Chadwick, Three Standing Figures. Conceived in 1955, the present work is unique. Estimate £150,000–250,000.

Passing through the courtyard to the entrance of the Royal Academy close to Sotheby’s on Piccadilly, visitors are greeted by a series of life-size steel sculptures of shiny angular creatures by Lynn Chadwick that are scattered among the water feature in various poses. This display, seen for the first time in public, ends on 16 May.

Galleries Blain Southern and Osborne Samuel – again with premises close to Sotheby’s – are also holding exhibitions of Chadwick’s major works with simultaneous retrospective shows in Berlin and London, respectively. These shows coincide with the launch of a new definitive monograph on Chadwick by Michael Bird, making Chadwick the sculptor everyone is talking about this summer.

Lynn Chadwick’s sculptures in the courtyard of the Royal Academy. Photograph Benedict Johnson.

Chadwick sprang to fame in the 1950s, when he was chosen as one of the sculptors to represent the new generation of British sculptors at the Venice Biennale in 1952. Following the success of this show, where works by Chadwick were purchased by MoMA, he went on to be included in key exhibitions and in 1956 was presented with the ultimate trophy when he was chosen above Giacometti to win the international sculpture prize at the Venice Biennale. 

Henry Moore had won this prize almost 10 years earlier, becoming one of the world’s most famous sculptors of his generation. Although Chadwick cannot be considered to have achieved the fame of Henry Moore, his work is included in several important international collections, and he has had retrospectives at Tate Britain and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. As the various shows that are on view this summer testify, the interest both within Britain and internationally is as strong today as in the 1950s when Lynn Chadwick was first discovered.

Lydia Wingfield-Digby is a specialist in the Modern and Post-war British Art department, Sotheby’s London.