Artists

Sculpture before 1945

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Provenance

The Artist
Jack Pritchard, received as a gift from Henry Moore
Thence by descent

Exhibitions

Hong Kong, Museum of Art and Arts Centre, The Art of Henry Moore, British Council, 1 February–12 March 1986, cat no.18, another cast touring to:
Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Museum, show titled The Art of Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921–1948
Fukuoka, Art Museum


London, Royal Academy of the Arts, Henry Moore, 16 September–11 December 1988, cat no.106, illus b/w p84, another cast

Literature

William Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, Thames and Hudson, London, 1960, pl 35, illus b/w another cast
Robert Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921–1969, Thames and Hudson, London, 1970, cat no.349, illus another cast
Franco Russoli and David Mitchinson, Henry Moore Sculpture, Macmillan, London, 1981, cat no.179, p96, illus another cast
David Sylvester ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1921–1948, Vol. 1, Lund Humphries, London, 1988, cat no.256, p161 illus b/w another cast

Description

It seems difficult to grasp today that Moore was for most of his life the most controversial artist working in Britain. The human figure was at the centre of Moore’s work and the subjects of the Reclining Figure and Mother and Child remained two of his most important and major preoccupations. Moore’s first portrayal of the Reclining Figure was in 1929, inspired by a cast he had seen in Paris four years earlier. The cast was of a Chacmool, a Toltec male warrior priest, from which Moore realised a female form whose body presented an analogy with organic forms. Here, in Reclining Figure, 1945, Moore demonstrates the principals of form and rhythm that he observed from the study of natural objects and the angular skeletal framework which underlies all human figures. ‘I want to be quite free of having to find a ‘reason’ for doing the Reclining Figures, and freer still of having to find a ‘meaning’ for them. The vital thing for an artist is to have a subject that allows you to try out all kinds of formal ideas – things that he doesn’t yet know about for certain but wants to experiment with, as Cézanne did in his ‘Bathers’ series. In my case the reclining figure provides chances of that sort. The subject-matter is given. It’s settled for you, and you know it and like it, so that within it, within the subject that you’ve done a dozen times before, you are free to invent a completely new form-idea.’ 1 1 Henry Moore quoted in John Russell, Henry Moore, Penguin Press, London, 1968, p28