LONDON - Alexander Calder has long been famed for the dynamism of his works, which brought to life the avant-garde’s fascination with movement and theatricality. The Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture exhibition at Tate Modern, opening on 11 November, will celebrate his contribution to modern art.
During the 1950s, unbeknownst to either artist, Lynn Chadwick was developing a similar art form, pushing British sculpture into the fourth dimension. As is often the case, when comparing British and European artists working in the 20th century, Chadwick’s mobiles are much less well known than Calder’s, although by no means inferior in form or content.
LYNN CHADWICK, STABILE WITH MOBILE ELEMENT, 1952. ESTIMATE £400,000–600,000. © THE ESTATE OF LYNN CHADWICK.
Lynn Chadwick’s Stabile with Mobile Element is an outstanding, rare mobile of exceptional beauty and balance, and it comes to market for the first time at the Modern & Post-War British Art in London on 17 November.
While working in the architect's office of Rodney Thomas, Chadwick began exploring the possibilities of physical balance in mobile structures. Between 1947 and 1952 Chadwick produced approximately 60 kinetic pieces. He quickly became known for the art form, with important commissions including the Festival of Britain and the Arts Council.
Stabile with Mobile Element has long been shrouded in mystery. It was purchased directly from the artist in 1954 and left the studio before being photographed. For almost 60 years the only evidence of its existence was this small working sketch.
LYNN CHADWICK, WORKING SKETCH FOR STABILE WITH MOBILE ELEMENT, 1952.© THE ESTATE OF LYNN CHADWICK.
There is a mastery of material, combined with a fine sensibility for balance, movement and the harmony of form and space in this unique sculpture. The abstract shapes, when set in motion inevitably seems to suggest a living organism – the rotating elliptical form, from which long thin spikes extend, become the hostiles jaws, or the fearsome pincers, of a terrifying creature.
LEAD IMAGE: LYNN CHADWICK BY IDA KAR, 1954. © NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON.