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Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Henry Moore (1898-1986)

Working Model for Sheep Piece

Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Working Model for Sheep Piece
signed and numbered 'Moore 4/9' (on the top of the base)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 45¾ in. (116.2 cm.)
Length: 56 in. (142 cm.)
Depth: 42½ in. (108 cm.)
Conceived and cast in 1971 by Fiorini, London in a numbered edition of 9 plus 1 artist's proof
Acquired from the artist by the late owners, 1975.
A. Bowness, Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings, London, 1977, vol. 4, p. 61, no. 626 (another cast illustrated, pls. 174-175).
K. Clark, D. Finn and H. Moore, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, London, 1977, p. 489 (another cast illustrated).
W.S. Lieberman, Henry Moore, 60 Years of his Art, New York, 1983, p. 110 (another cast illustrated).
W.J. Strachan, Henry Moore Animals, London, 1983, p. 88, no. 72 (another cast illustrated).

Lot Essay

Formally, Sheep Piece relates closely to Moore's work of the 1960s in which he explored the motif of divided yet inter-related forms. Unlike the interlocking forms he juxtaposed in Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points (A. Bowness, vol. 4, no. 606), the interpenetrating forms of Sheep Piece suggest a relationship between two parts that is more physically intimate. "The nuzzling animal sensation in the Sheep Piece hides a more basic human connection, infantile as well as adult. I am sure the largely forgotten memories of the child, newly emerged from the womb and only safe when held against the mother's warm body, play their part in the artistic genesis of the Sheep Piece, as they certainly do in other sculptures" (A. Bowness, op. cit., p. 17).

Describing his interest in this theme, Moore recalled:

I have always liked sheep, and there is one big sculpture of mine that I call Sheep Piece because I placed it in a field and the sheep enjoyed it and the lambs played around it. Sheep are just the right size for the kind of landscape setting that I like for my sculptures: a horse or a cow would reduce the sense of monumentality. Perhaps the sheep belong also to the landscape of my boyhood in Yorkshire. If the farmer didn't keep his sheep here I would own some myself, just for the pleasure they give me. (Quoted in H. Moore and K. Clark, Henry Moore's Sheep Sketchbook, London, 1980)

The present sculpture is the working model for the larger version of the same subject (Bowness, vol. 4, no. 627). Another cast of this working model and a cast of the larger version are in the Henry Moore Foundation, Much Hadham.

(fig. 1) Henry Moore's Sheep Piece on view at the Foundation in Much Hadham.

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