Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Henry Moore (1898-1986)
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Henry Moore (1898-1986)
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Property of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Sold to Benefit Future Acquisitions
Henry Moore (1898-1986)

Working Model for Locking Piece

Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Working Model for Locking Piece
signed and numbered 'Moore 5/9' (on the front of the base)
bronze with green and brown patina
Height: 41 ½ in. (105.5 cm.)
Diameter: 32 in. (81.3 cm.)
Conceived and cast in 1962
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York (acquired from the artist).
Richard and Virginia Sargeant Reynolds, Richmond (acquired from the above, 26 March 1966).
Gift from the above to the present owner, 1980.
A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Sculpture 1955-1964, London, 1965, vol. 3, p. 32, no. 514 (other casts illustrated, pls. 171-172).
H. Read, Henry Moore: A Study of his Life and Work, New York, 1966 (larger bronze version illustrated, p. 247, pl. 236).
J. Hedgecoe, ed., Henry Moore, New York, 1968 (larger plaster version illustrated, pp. 452-453; larger bronze version illustrated, pp. 454-463).
I. Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, pp. 86 and 122, no. 491 (another cast illustrated, pl. 30).
D. Sylvester, Henry Moore, London, 1968, p. 141, no. 123 (another cast illustrated, p. 136).
R. Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, p. 299, no. 676 (other casts illustrated, p. 298).
P. James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, New York, 1971, p. 147, no. 48 (another cast illustrated).
D. Finn, Sculpture and Environment, London, 1976, pp. 144-147 and 364-367 (others cast illustrated).
G. Shakerley, Henry Moore: Sculptures in Landscape, London, 1978 (another cast illustrated in color, pl. 40; larger version illustrated in color, pl. 41).
J. Iglesias del Marquet, Henry Moore y el Inquietante Infinito, Barcelona, 1979 (larger bronze version illustrated in color, no. 54).
D. Mitchinson, ed., Henry Moore Sculpture, London, 1981 (larger bronze version illustrated in color, p. 170; detail of larger bronze version illustrated, p. 171).
A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture 1955-1964, London, 1986, vol. 3, p. 60, no. 514 (other casts illustrated, pls. 160-163).
D. Ehrlich, Henry Moore, London, 1994 (another cast illustrated, p. 75).
J. Hedgecoe, A Monumental Vision: The Sculpture of Henry Moore, New York, 1998 (larger bronze version illustrated, pp. 168-169).
C. Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work, Theory, Impact, London, 2008 (larger bronze version illustrated, p. 178; larger plaster version illustrated in color, p. 179).
Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (1980-March 2019).

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Jessica Fertig
Jessica Fertig

Lot Essay

Of the ten recorded bronze casts of the present sculpture, five can be found in public institutions, including The Ulster Museum, Belfast; The Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, Bucharest; The Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens, Pepsico World Headquarters, Purchase, New York and The Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg. The plaster can be found at The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

Henry Moore created this intricate working model as the preparatory version of Locking Piece, 1963-1964, one of his most enigmatic, complex, and monumental multi-component sculptures. The plastic potential in connected forms had long fascinated Moore, and led him to experiment with two- and three-piece sculptures composed of shapes that interlocked, touched, or were placed in dialogue with one another. He considered the present sculpture “the most successful of my ‘fitting-together’ sculptures. In fact, the two pieces interlock in such a way that they can only be separated if the top piece is lifted and turned at the same time” (quoted in J. Hedgecoe and H. Moore, Henry Spencer Moore, New York, 1968, p. 455).
The upper and lower forms conjoin like a ball in a socket on one side, holding between them a carefully wedged, disk-shaped piece on the opposite face. With this arrangement, Moore capitalized on the dramatic potential of his medium, creating a work with a distinct appearance from every angle. “Sculpture has some disadvantages compared with painting,” Moore noted, “but it can have one great advantage over painting, that it can be looked at from all round—and if this attribute is used and fully exploited then it can give to sculpture a continual, changing, never-ending surprise and interest” (quoted in D. Mitchinson, Henry Moore Sculpture, New York, 1981, p. 170).
Associations rooted in the artist’s experience of the natural world are the source of the sophisticated and varied abstract forms in Locking Piece. The sculptor cited as inspirations both “fragments of bone with a socket and joint which was found in the garden” and the experience of “playing with two pebbles…and somehow or other they got locked together and I couldn’t get them undone” (quoted in A. Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Berkeley, 2002, p. 291). To capture the worn texture of a stone or a fossil, Moore abraded the surface of the original plaster model with subtle crosshatching, making the mark of his hand visible in the bronze cast.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the United States. VMFA, which opened in 1936, is a state agency and privately endowed educational institution. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret art, and to encourage the study of the arts. Through the Office of Statewide Partnerships program, the museum offers curated exhibitions, arts-related audiovisual programs, symposia, lectures, conferences and workshops by visual and performing artists. In addition to presenting a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a global collection of art that spans more than 6,000 years. VMFA’s permanent holdings encompass nearly 40,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, and the finest collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco outside of Paris. VMFA is also home to important collections of African, American, Ancient, East Asian, European and South Asian art, with particular strengths in African American art, British sporting art, English silver, French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and Modern and Contemporary art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its history, and last year had an attendance of nearly 700,000 visitors.

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