• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1901

    Impressionist And Modern Art Day Sale

    7 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 415

    Henry Moore (1898-1986)

    Six Garden Reliefs

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Henry Moore (1898-1986)
    Six Garden Reliefs
    Portland stone
    Height (of each): 34 3/8 in. (87.2 cm.)
    Width (of each): 15 in. (38.1 cm.)
    Depth (of each): 15 in. (38.1 cm.)
    Executed in 1926; unique (2)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Two architectural jardinères in one lot (2).

    Conceived in 1926, the present pair of architectural jardinières is a unique and early work by the artist, and his first private commission. Constructed of Portland stone, a variety of limestone quarried on the Isle of Portland in the English Channel, each bears a distinct relief on three sides. The frieze-like voluptous female nudes, monumental and angular, reflect Moore's early fascination with primitivism. During the early years of his career, Moore preferred the technique of direct carving, creating compositions such as the present work. Here, tool marks and the inherent imperfections in the material are integral elements of the finished product.

    The present lot was originally commissioned from the artist by architect Gordon Holt for the home of Mr. and Mrs. Reckitt in London, and belies the artist's fascination with the flatness of Assyrian and ancient Egyptian reliefs. In its primitive sensibility, the Six Garden Reliefs bears a strong resemblance to Moore's first public commission, The West Wind (Sylvester, no. 58), a frieze executed in 1928 which adorned the new London Underground headquarters at St. James' Park station.

    In a study of the influence of architectural motifs in Moore's oeuvre, Anita Feldman Bennet has noted:

    Moore's earliest thoughts about architecture are recorded in his sketchbooks whilst a student in Leeds. In a 1930 drawing of a Byzantine capital, Moore underlines his observation that the pattern appears incised rather than applied, anticipating his own preference for carving over modelling. Trials in relief soon followed with Frieze of dancing figures and Six Garden Reliefs...The ideas for these carvings are developed in the same notebook as the studies for...Moore's first public commission, West Wind (exh. cat., op. cit.).

    The jardinières were conceived to be displayed alongside unique carvings in a pair of teak garden benches at The Reckitt House, but were separated from these benches in the 1960s. The second owner of these jardinihres was Lionel Tertis, a well-known British violist who purchased the Reckitts' home in 1961. According to Roger Berthoud, "... knowing they [the jardinihres] were believed to be by Henry Moore, [Tertis] invited the sculptor to come and see them. Partly because they had never been recorded in any catalogue of his work, Henry had completely forgotten about them. His immediate and very typical comment was 'Oh yes, that's me, not bad, is it?!'" (op. cit., p. 95). The present lot was eventually purchased by Sophia Loren and her husband,
    the late Carlo Ponti, for "La Concordia," their beloved ranch in the rolling hills outside of Los Angeles. ir beloved ranch in the rolling hills outside of Los Angeles.

    Provenance

    Mr. and Mrs. Reckitt, London (commissioned from the artist, 1926).
    Lionel Tertis, London (acquired from the above, 1961); sale, Sotheby & Co.,
    London, 16 December 1964, lot 170.
    Marlborough Fine Art., Ltd., London (acquired at the above sale).
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the amended provenance for this work:

    Mr. and Mrs. Reckitt, London (commissioned from the artist, 1926).
    Lionel Tertis, London (acquired from the above, 1961); sale, Sotheby & Co.,
    London, 16 December 1964, lot 170.
    Marlborough Fine Art., Ltd., London (acquired at the above sale).
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.


    Please note the following additional literature reference:

    R. Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, New York, 1987, pp. 95-96.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF SOPHIA LOREN


    Literature

    R. Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, New York, 1987, pp. 95-96.
    A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1980-86, London, 1999, vol. 6, p. 23, no. 36a (illustrated, p. 23 and pls. 1-4).
    Henry Moore, Sculptuur en architectuur, exh. cat., Kunsthal Rotterdam, 2006.