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Henry Moore (1898-1986)
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 1… Read more Property from a Private American Collection 
Henry Moore (1898-1986)

Maquette for King and Queen

Details
Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Maquette for King and Queen
bronze with brown and green patina
Height including frame: 10¾ in. (27.3 cm.)
Executed in 1952 and cast in an edition of 10
Provenance
Curt Valentin Gallery, New York.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, by 1969.
Jeffrey H. Loria & Co., Inc., New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in May 1998.
Literature
J. Hedgecoe, Words by Henry Moore, New York, 1968, p. 528 (illustrated p. 216).
I. Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, p. 79, no. 319.
W.E. Lieberman, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection, Masterpieces of Modern Art, New York, 1981, p. 144 (illustrated).
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, Volume 2, Sculpture 1949-1954, London, 1986, no. 348, p. 49 (another cast illustrated p. 48 and pl. 123).
J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, A Monumental Vision, Cologne, 2005, no. 321, p. 216 (illustrated).
Exhibited
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Twentieth-Century Art from the Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Collection, May - September 1969, p. 71 (illustrated).
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.

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Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

Maquette for King and Queen was executed in 1952 and relates to one of Henry Moore's most popular and recognised sculptures. Like this work, King and Queen presents the hieratic figures of the two rulers next to each other, each rendered with features that are more surreal than naturalistic, lending them a mythological quality. When he began to conceive of King and Queen that year, the notion of royalty was greatly in the air in Great Britain, as that was the year of the death of King George VI and the ascension to the throne of the current reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. As well as the great commotion and optimism that surrounded the birth of a new Elizabethan age, all the more welcome in the post-war era, Moore was influenced by more domestic events: at that time he had been reading old tales of kings and queens to his daughter. These various elements came to the fore when one of the figures he was sculpting took on a determinedly crowned appearance, leading to this sculpture and King and Queen. The sense of continuity and of the ancient traditions remaining in place that was represented by the royal events must have resonated with Moore, whose own sculptures used a modern idiom that was itself deeply and deliberately rooted in the art of the past, granting it a timeless quality.

Maquette for King and Queen was executed in an edition of ten, of which the present example had the distinction of forming a part of the famous collection of Nelson A. Rockefeller. In Roger Berthoud's biography of Henry Moore, he pointed out that several critics, including Alan Bowness and David Sylvester, preferred Maquette for King and Queen to the sculpture for which it was supposedly preparatory (R. Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, London, 1987, p. 239). In Maquette for King and Queen, the elegance of the figures is accentuated by the innovative framing device which is absent from the finished work. In its geometry, this contrasts vividly with the naturalistic, organic forms of the figures, adding an intriguing dynamism to composition and also to the relationship between the couple. That frame appears to invoke the tradition of painting, perhaps even of royal portraiture, yet Moore has used it in order to emphasise the extent to which, in terms of both form and of subject matter, he has broken free of those limitations. In this way, he has created a sculpture that clearly pays homage to the history of humankind while at the same time displaying its own modernity.

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