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    Sale 12071

    Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

    13 May 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1372

    Henry Moore (1898-1986)

    Large Slow Form

    Price Realised  


    Henry Moore (1898-1986)
    Large Slow Form
    signed and numbered 'Moore 3/9' (on the back)
    bronze with green and brown patina
    Length: 30 ¼ in. (77 cm.)
    Conceived in 1962; this bronze version enlarged in 1968

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    Large Slow Form is an enlarged version of Moore’s Slow Form: Tortoise, conceived in 1962, which he described as “the so-called ‘Tortoise Form.’ It is one right-angled form, repeated five times, and arranged together to make an organic composition. This repeated slow right-angle reminded me of the action of a tortoise” (quoted in J. Hedgecoe and H. Moore, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, p. 365).
    Here, Moore uses interlocking pieces which are irregular in shape, containing both round and hard edges, to bring to life the form of a tortoise. This sculpture exemplifies Moore’s desire to create sculpture which appears to be evolving. In Moore’s view, “Sculpture should always at first sight have some obscurities, and further meanings. People should want to go on looking and thinking; it should never tell all about itself immediately” (quoted in op.cit., 1981, p. 52). In fact, upon first inspection, the sculpture is not immediately recognizable as a tortoise—it evokes the shape of an animal, however it is only with Moore’s description that we can identify the type of animal. John Russell has written, “Over and over again in the 1950s and 1960s Moore has invented animal-forms which belong to no known bestiary and yet are quintessentially plausible. We can’t give a name to them, but we accept the fact of their existence” (Henry Moore, Harmondsworth, 1973, p. 184). Animals were of significant importance to Moore—between 1921 and 1982, Moore conceived fifty-eight sculptures and countless drawings in various animal forms.
    Sculptor Anthony Caro, who worked as Moore’s studio assistant from 1951 to 1953, has written about Large Slow Form: “When I saw this piece in the Tate for the first time, some time in the late 1970s, I got a surprise: it didn’t look like a Henry Moore. I thought it was a marvellous piece. It’s untypical... it’s because he seems to have gone away from using flints, stones or bones as a starting point, but has invented his own forms. And it has such unity, it feels like a carving: it has that strength and weight…when Henry makes a work like Large Slow Form it gives you a jolt; it knocks your expectations awry. This work confirms how good a sculptor he could be. You can’t box him into a corner. A piece like the Large Slow Form defeats your expectations” (quoted in op. cit., London, 2006, p. 273).


    Dominion Gallery, Montreal (acquired from the artist, May 1969).
    Lotus International Trust, Hong Kong (acquired from the above, March 1980).
    Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners, August 1985.


    D. Mitchinson, ed., Henry Moore, Sculpture, London, 1981, p. 313, no. 349 (another cast illustrated in color, p. 163).
    W.J. Strachan, Henry Moore, Animals, London, 1983, p. 173 (illustrated in color, pl. II).
    A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, 1955-1964, London, 1986, vol. 3, p. 54, no. 502a (another cast illustrated, pp. 55 and 140-141).
    J.D. Weintraub, intro., Master Sculptors of the XX Century, New York, 1987, no. 62 (another cast illustrated in color).
    D. Mitchinson ed., Celebrating Moore, Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London, 1998, pp. 272-273, no. 199 (illustrated in color).