The delirium of maritime things slowly takes hold of me,
The wharf and its atmosphere physically penetrate me
—Álvaro de Campos
Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present Furling the Spanker: Masterworks from the Chadwicks’ Nautical Collection, our second solo exhibition of works from the Chadwick family at the gallery, overseen by Jimbo Blachly and Lytle Shaw, editors of the Chadwick family papers.
This exhibition includes the core of the family’s nautical holdings: Shipwreck Memorials (relief sculptures depicting the moment after a vessel has been claimed by the sea, with brass plaques indicating the ship’s name, the circumstances of the disaster, and a suggestion of the attitude one might adopt in mourning the loss); maritime sections from Chadwick’s Illustrated History (hand-tinted prints from the family’s standard work); Contemporary Sterns (fine Dutch canal boats juxtaposed with nautical yarns from the family archive); an array of sea-based study sketches; and, finally, the centerpiece of the exhibition, the Nelson Man o’Bar, a scale model of Admiral Nelson’s HMS Victory, the boat on which he was killed during the decisive Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Purchased by the Chadwicks just after Nelson’s death, the model was used first as an object of mourning. Apparently, however, the Chadwicks found the passive contemplation of the boat as funeral shrine too remote and discovered that, by removing sections of the exterior planking, it was just barely possible to wedge a body fully inside the hull. Here, Chadwick Dalton would reenact Nelson’s famous death speech. Impatient with these monologues, Torrent Chadwick then began, on Dalton’s absences from the manor, to use the model as a nautical pub—or, as he termed it, Man o’Bar. A rare film from the family collections (also included) documents the Chadwicks’ uses of this model. While the model was de-accessioned from the family manor sometime in the 1940s, its recent discovery in a storeroom at the Victoria and Albert Museum in Mumbai was the impetus for this exhibition.
Current and future exhibitions of the Chadwick family collections include “Otherworldly” (the Museum of Art and Design, New York, opens June 7), “Märklinworld” (Kunsthal Amersfoort, the Netherlands, opens September 23), and “The Chadwicks in the Pacific” (Southern Exposure, San Francisco, opens February 3, 2012).