Catalogue entry

Lynn Chadwick 1914-2003

T01226 Inner Eye (Maquette III) 1952

Not inscribed.
Iron and glass, 11¼ x 6 x 4 (29 x 15 x 11.5).
Purchased at Sotheby & Co. (Knapping Fund) 1970.
Coll: Mrs L.G.Kenyon, sold Sotheby’s, 8 July 1970 (161) as ‘Maquctte for The Inner Eye’, bt. Marlborough Fine Art for the Tate Gallery.
Exh: Gimpel Fils, June 1952 (29).

A version of the large sculpture, 90 in. high, in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The artist wrote (1 February 1972) that ‘there were five models of “The Inner Eye”. The first two were made in March 1952 at the same time as the large sculpture. One, to in. high, was exhibited at Heifers Gallery, Cambridge but I have no record of the purchasers of this one. The third model is that in the Tate collection and was made in May 1952. The fourth, 15 in. high, was made in May 1952 [ex coll. Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York; sold Parke Bernet, 1 March 1972 (35, repr.)]. The fifth I have kept.’

Within a ‘cage’ of prongs, a curved ‘V’-shaped form is balanced between two uprights; balanced in turn between its two sides is a straight ‘V’-shaped form culminating in small fingers or claws which hold a small lump of cullet, a translucent material described by the artist as ‘part of the residue left in the crucible after glass blowing’. Each ‘V’-shaped form can be individually rotated on its axis through 360°.

Specific details in which the Museum of Modern Art version differs from T01226 include a proportionately larger size of hole in the upright’ wall’ or ‘ shield’ element; the presence of a fork-like prong which acts as a support for the cullet additional to that provided by the ‘claws’; ‘U’- rather than ‘V’-shaped balanced forms; and a ‘ladder’ of horizontal bars linking the uprights from which these forms are balanced.

A statement made by the artist for the Museum of Modern Art shortly after they acquired their work in 1955 reads: ‘The Inner Eye marks a turning point in my work as the “mobile” element previously stressed is now unimportant or rather the movement is less important. Also it is the first example of two contrasting elements— in this case the surface of an imaginary solid is opposed to a skeletal construction’.

Commenting on this statement in his letter to the Tate Gallery in 1972, the artist added: ‘My statement to the Museum of Modern Art… was written before I made “solid” sculpture and indicates that although I was aware of the “vector” problems of “volume” I was using two of the components in apposition.’

Other works of the same period that involve balanced elements, and rib or ladderlike structures, in works which stand on slender pointed legs, include ‘Barley Fork’, 1952, and ‘Balanced Sculpture’, 1952 (repr. Herbert Read, Lynn Chadwick, 1960, plates 2 and 3), and ‘Balanced Sculpture’ (coll. National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; repr. on cover of catalogue of Lynn Chadwick exhibition, Whitechapel Gallery, July-August 1957). ‘St Louis Woman’, 1952-3 (coll. Museo Civico di Torino; repr. Motif, 4, March 1960, p. 21) includes, in addition to all these features, a lump of cullet. In the years preceding the making of T01226, the artist had made many mobile constructions. In the letter already quoted (1972), he wrote: ‘I don’t consider that mobiles themselves influenced my “static” work but perhaps some of the ideas connected with “space structures” which had interested me in Architecture influenced both.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.