Lynn Chadwick

Dragonfly

1951

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Iron
Dimensions
Object: 2770 x 1060 x 260 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1951
Reference
N06035

Display caption

The way this evocation of an insect hovers, suspended only at one point to the side, is testimony to Chadwick’s engineering skills. Dragonfly is made up of a network of welded iron rods, suggesting the body’s structure, with the suspended, fish-like elements counterbalanced by its weighted tail. The result is a work that can rotate so that its movement, as much as its form, suggests the predatory prowling of an insect. Such objects established Chadwick as one of the leading international sculptors of the 1950s.

Gallery label, September 2016

Catalogue entry

N06035 DRAGONFLY 1951
 
 
Not inscribed.
Iron mobile, length 116 (295).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1951.
Repr: Art d'Aujourd'hui, IV, No.2, 1953, p.7.

Made in 1951 as a model for a large work to be presented by the Contemporary Art Society, but the Trustees decided to accept it in its present form. The work belongs to a series of mobiles which the artist began to experiment with in 1947, and which culminated in the complex structures of 1950–1, notably the iron and copper ‘Fisheater’ commissioned by the Arts Council in 1951.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I