Adorning the entrance to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), the magnificent sculpture Cloaked Figure IX by world-renowned British sculptor Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) has entered the Museum’s collection. This acquisition was made possible thanks to the generous gift of the Peress family in honour of their parents, Montrealers Simha and Maurice S. Peress.
“Fifteen years after his passing in 2003, what a joy and privilege it is to acquire a monumental work by the celebrated British sculptor Lynn Chadwick! Following the CIBC Bank’s exceptional donation of the Henry Moore sculpture Three Piece Reclining Figure No. 1 (1961-1962) in 2017, the MMFA has continued to embellish its public art spaces for the benefit of all Montrealers and its audiences. Collected [by museums] from the MoMA to the Beaubourg, Chadwick was an accomplished sculptor of outstanding ingenuity and technical virtuosity. A successor to Moore and Hepworth’s generation, he was a contemporary of César. He created mobiles… like Calder, another major figure to whom the Museum is paying tribute this fall. While famed art historian Herbert Read – of whom the Museum has a stunning portrait – described Chadwick’s art during the Cold War period as the ‘geometry of fear,’ the artist did not intellectualize his creations, as his would attest his widow to his abiding sense of humour. We are very grateful to Philippe Peress, who together with his family in Europe and the Americas, has embedded his native city of Montreal a little deeper in our hearts with this generous and symbolic gift,” says Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA.
Of the six existing editions of the original, the sculpture given to the MMFA is the only one in Canada. Other than the Museum, just three other Canadian institutions possess monumental sculptures by Chadwick: the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the Ontario College of Art and Design.
Image: Lynn Chadwick (1914 – 2003), Cloaked Figure IX, 1978, cast 1989, bronze, 2/6, cast Burleighfield, Loudwater, England. MMFA, gift of the Peress family in honour of their parents, Simha and Maurice S. Peress. Photo MMFA, Denis Farley.