Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTION
Henry Moore (1898-1986)

Working Model for Reclining Figure: Prop

Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Working Model for Reclining Figure: Prop
signed and numbered 'Moore 6/9' (on the back of the base)
bronze with green and brown patina
Length: 31 5/8 in. (80.3 cm.)
Conceived in 1976 and cast by the Fiorini foundry in an edition of nine plus one artist's proof
Acquired directly from the artist circa 1976, and thence by descent to the present owner.
F. Russoli & D. Mitchinson, Henry Moore Sculpture, London, 1981, no. 572 (another cast illustrated p. 275)
A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, vol. 5, 1974-1980, London, 1983, no. 677 (another cast illustrated pls. 60 & 61).
The Henry Moore Foundation, ed., Henry Moore: The Human Dimension, London, 1991 (another cast illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

'I want to be quite free of having to find a "reason" for doing the Reclining Figures, and freer still of having to find a "meaning" for them. The vital thing for an artist is to have a subject that allows [you] to try out all kinds of formal ideas... in my case the reclining figure provides chances of that sort. The subject matter is given. It's settled for you, and you know it and like it, so that within it, within the subject that you've done a dozen times before, you are free to invent a completely new form-idea' (H. Moore, quoted in J. Russell, Henry Moore, London, 1968, p.28).

The reclining female figure was Henry Moore's most enduring subject. Moore explained that his abiding attachment to this motif stemmed from the unparalleled formal freedom it allowed him. By 1976, the year the present sculpture was conceived, Moore's supreme mastery of the figure in repose was such that, as he made clear, 'there's no need any longer to search for a personal style: I find work comes naturally' (Moore, quoted in A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, vol. 5, 1974-1980, London, 1983, p. 7). This fluency is patently evident in the rhythmic rise and fall of forms in Working Model for Reclining Figure: Prop which effortlessly combines the formal innovations explored by Moore over the course of his exceptionally productive career.

The idea for Working Model for Reclining Figure: Prop was first developed in a small maquette subsequently enlarged by Moore to the present 'working model' size. A larger version based upon this model was conceived in 1982, a cast of which is in the collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas. The elongated female figure of the present sculpture, propped up on one elbow, her twisting powerful chest pushing outwards and her knees upwards, is compositionally related to two other important reclining figures Moore sculpted at this time - Draped Reclining Figure and Reclining Figure: Angles. The particular pose evokes that of the pre-Columbian Toltec-Mayan figure of Chacmool. This sculpture had made a great impression upon Moore when he saw it reproduced in a book and when he first encountered a plaster cast of the original stone carving in Paris at the Trocadéro in 1922. 'Its curious reclining posture attracted me', Moore remarked of Chacmool, 'not lying on its side but on its back with its head twisted round' (Moore, quoted in A. Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot, 2002, p. 54).

The smooth hollow lower torso, characteristic of Moore's reclining figures, and sweeping curve of the figure's left arm creates a remarkable interplay of form and space. This interplay is further heightened by the strut or 'prop' supporting the raised arm, which divides the ovoid space between limb and torso into two discreet areas and which brings to mind Moore's more abstracted two-piece reclining sculptures.Working Model for Reclining Figure: Prop reconciles, to some extent, both Moore's naturalistic and more abstract approaches to figuration. Writing of Moore's post-1973 sculptures, Alan Bowness observed that 'the most obvious characteristic is a certain sense of consolidation - the drawing together of the threads of a long and various career' (A. Bowness, op. cit., 1983, p. 7).

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