United Kindom 1914-2003
Jubilee IV 1985
Jubilee IV is one of Chadwick’s largest and most accomplished works. It illustrates the artist’s preoccupation at this point in his career with paired male and female figures in highly-stylized drapery. The visual drama of the wind swept cloaks contrasts with the solemn formality of the figures themselves. Trained initially as a designer and architectural draughtsman, Chadwick belongs to the post-war generation of British sculptors, slightly younger than their great contemporary Henry Moore, who ushered in a new era of modernism that retained vestiges of figuration while creating a fresh vocabulary of plant-like and insect-like forms.
The savage angularity and power of these early welded metal forms prompted historian Herbert Read’s famous reference to their evoking a ‘geometry of fear’. The phrase referred both to social angst following the Second World War and to the sheer assertiveness of sharp-edged forms with spiky protuberances.
Chadwick first came to prominence in 1956 when chosen to represent the United Kingdom at the XXVII Venice Biennale where he won the International Grand Prix for sculpture – the catalyst for a global reputation that endured throughout his career. In this cast bronze group, the rectangular head signifies the male figure while the female figure has a triangular head and is slightly taller than the male. Typical of Chadwick’s sculpture, Jubilee IV exemplifies a balance or play of abstraction with figuration and mass with linear rhythm.