Lynn Chadwick is one of the most important and respected British sculptors of the post-war years. His reputation became fully established after he won the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1956 in front of Giacometti.
In 1959 Chadwick began working on one his most iconic series of sculptures: 'The Watchers'. These mysterious creatures typically stand alone, as we find here. All marks of the individual have been removed from the figure, to create an image that is neither human nor animal, neither male nor female. Magisterial and brooding, 'Watcher IX' epitomises the capacity of Chadwick’s sculpture to evoke an abstracted, human presence. Writing about The Watchers, Herbert Read dubbed Chadwick’s unique aesthetic as “the new image of man”.
In contrast to his earlier open structures, figures such as this are filled and defined by their rough, textured skin. During the 1950s and 1960s Chadwick became intensely interested in the potential of bronze as a medium, pioneering new techniques for welding and construction. Rejecting the smooth, hand carved forms of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, Chadwick instead sought a rawer approach. This striking bronze sculpture perfectly embodies Chadwick’s belief that art should be “the manifestation of some vital force coming from the dark, caught by the imagination and translated by the artist’s ability and skill”.
A study for the 'Watcher' series of 1961, executed in ink and watercolour on paper, can be found at the Fitzwilliam Musuem, Cambridge. Other Watcher sculptures belong to public collections around the world, including the Berman Museum, Pennsylvania, the Sprengel Museum, Hannover and the San Diego Museum of Art.
From the artist's studio
Private Collection, Austria
Private Collection, UK
Marlborough Fine Art, Kenneth Armitage, November – December 1961, illus.
Milan, Galleria Blu, Due scultori inglesi (with Kenneth Armitage), January 1963;
d’Arte Annunciata, Scultura europea, 14
April – 5 May 1965, illus. p.13
Milan, Galleria Blu, Due scultori inglesi, exhibition catalogue, text by G. Dorfles, Galleria Blu, Milan, January 1963, p.6, fig.13, illus.
Dennis Farr & Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick, Sculptor, London, 2014, no. 352, illus. of another cast p.196