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    Sale 7701

    Impressionist/Modern Art, Evening Sale

    4 February 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 11

    Henry Moore (1898-1986)

    Family Group

    Price Realised  

    Henry Moore (1898-1986)
    Family Group
    signed 'Moore' (on the back of the base)
    bronze with black patina
    Height: 9¼ in. (24.2 cm.)
    Conceived in 1945 and cast in an edition of nine plus one further cast in the artist's lifetime


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    The present work forms part of a series of maquettes produced for Family Group, 1949, a life-size sculpture commissioned for the Barclay Secondary School, Stevenage New Town, Hertfordshire. This theme of the family unit had first materialized in Moore's work when the artist was asked by Henry Morris and Walter Gropius to create a sculpture for a village college at Impington near Cambridge. The college's ideal of both child and adult education in a single institution appealed to Moore, who had originally trained as a school teacher himself and for whom the theme of the 'Mother and Child' had been something of an obsession throughout his oeuvre. The occasion of a commission for a public sculpture, this time on behalf of an educational institution, encouraged the sculptor to consider the importance of the family, whose close interpersonal relationships provided an exemplary guide for wider communal values. The Impington sculpture, which had been under discussion as early as 1934, was never completed for this site because of funding problems, but Moore continued to work obsessively on numerous related drawings and maquettes from 1944 to 1947, when he was approached to create a work for Barclay Secondary School.

    The present maquette was conceived in 1945, by which time the family group had become a poignant reflection of the artist's wish for peace and harmony in a world shattered by war. The war had of course greatly disrupted family ties not only through wounding and death, but through conscription and mass evacuation and Moore's preoccupation with the link between parent and child (the 'community of life' as he termed it), can be seen as a manifestation of the common anxiety to reassert traditional home life at this time. Moreover, as Susan Compton noted, 'it consolidates his move towards a wider and more humanist approach appropriate for public sculpture' (Henry Moore, London, 1988, exh. cat., p. 224).

    This cast was initially owned by the Dominion Gallery, Montreal, whose late owner Max Stern transformed the gallery into a beacon of modernism in North America. Stern was a German émigré who had escaped to Canada via England during the Second World War after being forced to sell his Cologne gallery by the Nazi's, but his passion for extraordinary sculpture took him back to Europe and he soon became the representative for Moore, Jean Arp, Aristide Maillol and had the largest holding of Rodin sculpture outside the Musée Rodin in Paris. Much of Stern's vast collection has since been generously donated to various public institutions, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery of Concordia University. Additional casts of this maquette can be found at the Henry Moore Foundation, Hertfordshire and the Tate Gallery, London.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    Dominion Gallery, Montreal.
    Private collection, Montreal, by whom acquired from the above; sale, Christie's, New York, 7 May 2003, lot 24.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    Saleroom Notice

    The Henry Moore Foundation has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this cast, which was made in the artist's lifetime, at the Art Bronze Foundry in London in an unnumbered edition of 9 with one further cast reserved for the artist. The Foundation's archive does not record by whom the 'Moore' signature was added on the back of the base. The Foundation suggests that it could have been added by the artist, one of his assistants or even by the Foundry at the time of casting.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION


    Literature

    H. Read, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, 1921-1948, vol. I (Third edition), London, 1949, no. 106b.
    D. Sylvester (ed.), Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, 1921-1948, vol. I, London, 1957, no. 259, p. 16 (another cast illustrated p. 151).
    W. Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, no. 123, p. 8 (another cast illustrated, dated '1946').
    H. Moore & J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, London, 1968, no. 9 (illustrated p. 177).
    I. Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, no. 243 (another cast illustrated pl. 14).
    R. Melville, Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, p. 353 (another cast illustrated pl. 356).
    F. Russoli & D. Mitchinson, Henry Moore, Sculpture, London, 1981, no. 175, p. 310 (another cast illustrated p. 94).
    W.S. Lieberman, Henry Moore, 60 Years of His Art, New York, 1983 (another cast illustrated p. 61).
    M. Gibson, 'L'obsédante horizontalité', in Connaissance des Arts, Special Moore edition, 1992, no. 8, p. 10 (another cast illustrated).
    D. Mitchinson, Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London, 1998, no. 155, pp. 220-221 (another cast illustrated p. 221).