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Henry Moore, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Henry Moore, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)

Ideas for Sculpture

Henry Moore, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
Ideas for Sculpture
signed and dated 'Moore/38' (lower right)
chalk, crayon and wash on buff paper
19½ x 14½ in. (49.5 x 36.8 cm.)
with Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles.
Harry Pack.
with Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 1975.
Private collection.
C. Valentin, Henry Moore, London, 1949, no. 140.
R. Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, p. 17, no. 183, pl. 18.
Exhibition catalogue, 80/80, London, Thomas Gibson Fine Art, 1978, p. 12, exhibition not numbered, illustrated.
A. Garould (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Drawings: 1930-39, Vol. 2, London, 1988, p. 208, no. AG 38.36, HMF 1369, illustrated.

London, Marlborough Fine Art, 19th & 20th Century Drawings, Watercolours and Sculptures, February - March 1961, no. 64.
Los Angeles, County Museum, Henry Moore in Southern California, October - November 1973, ex-catalogue.
London, Thomas Gibson Fine Art, 80/80, July 1978, exhibition not numbered.
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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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Pippa Jacomb
Pippa Jacomb

Lot Essay

‘I find myself lined up with the surrealists because Surrealism means freedom for the creative side of man, for surprise & discovery & life, for an opening out & widening of man’s consciousness, for changing life & against conserving warn out traditions, for a variety not a uniformity, for opening not closing’ (H. Moore, 1937, quoted in A.G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot, 2002, p. 123).

Although made with the intent of being the preliminary stage of the ultimate goal of sculpture, Moore's drawings are more than just the formation of technical ideas, but meticulously rendered pictures. Ideas for a Sculpture is an eerie depiction of two groupings of forms, completely surreal, and yet presented as if Moore were sketching from life. They occupy a realistic space in relation to one another and react to light, casting shadow as if they were material. On the right, the closely grouped pair of standing forms create the appearance of a private conversation and divide the image into two sides. The scene is presented with an upright composition as if it were a portrait, favouring the right hand forms. On the left a stringed form lies low to the ground, referencing the stringed sculptures that Moore was creating in the late 1930s.

This is an idea rather than an extensive study and was not necessarily forged in three dimensions, but was a sketch for future works. This picture was created with the purpose of imagining non-existent objects in three dimensions with realistic rendering. These studies demonstrate Moore’s influence of the Surrealists, such as Miró and Dalí. Like Moore, they were fascinated with the narrative of Metamorphosis, which starts with the bones of Mother Earth being replanted into the ground where they would become people, a tale which bears a direct correlation to Moore’s sculpture, particularly in his large-scale abstract human figures, forged from stone. Furthermore, there is a definite influence from Picasso’s An Anatomy: Three Women, 1933 (Musée Picasso, Paris), where forms have been fragmented and reconstructed. It is highly likely that Moore saw reproductions of the drawings in the popular French periodical Minotaure, where they were published and distributed. They demonstrate a similar composite form although are more clearly represented as figures, with identifiable versions of eyes and legs.

There are a wide range of examples of the different styles of Moore’s drawing. A body of his studies on paper have a taxonomic nature in the repetitious studies of objects such as bones and developing ideas for sculptural forms to highly rendered pencil drawings to describe light and shade. These are all elements that would be borrowed in Moore’s Surrealist composite designs as they metamorphose into unreal forms, which unsettle with their disquieting stillness. The looming figures have been linked to the threat of war in Europe at this time; ‘alarming but also ludicrous’, they intimidate whilst remaining dormant (see Andrew Causey, The Drawings of Henry Moore, London, 2010, pp. 88-91).

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