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Henry Moore, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NORTH AMERICAN COLLECTION
Henry Moore, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)

Working Model for Locking Piece

Henry Moore, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
Working Model for Locking Piece
signed and numbered 'Moore 3/9' (on the edge of the base)
bronze with a green and brown patina
40 in. (103 cm.) high, including revolving bronze base
Conceived and cast in 1962, in an edition of 9, plus 1 artist's cast.
Madame Pierre Schlumberger, by 1963.
Her sale; Christie’s, London, 29 November 1993, lot 53, where purchased by the present owner.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore Recent Work, London, Marlborough Fine Art, 1963, n.p., no. 15, as 'Locking Piece', another cast illustrated.
P. James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, London, 1966, pp. 10, 145, no. 48, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings, Plymouth, City Art Gallery, 1966, n.p., no. 42, as 'Sculpture Locking Piece', another cast illustrated.
I. Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, pp. 86, 122, no. 500, pl. 42, as 'Locking Piece', another cast illustrated.
D. Sylvester, exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore, London, Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Gallery, 1968, pp. 123, 143, no. 126, another cast illustrated.
R. Melville, Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, p. 298, no. 676-678, another cast illustrated.
J. Russell, Henry Moore, London, 1973, pp. 231, 270, pl. 137, another cast illustrated.
D. Finn, Sculpture and Environment, London, 1977, pp. 144-147, 364-367, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore Sculptures et Dessins, Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, 1977, p. 177, no. 103, another cast illustrated.
G. Shakerley, Henry Moore: Sculptures in Landscape, London, 1978, p. 120, pl. 40, another cast illustrated.
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1955-1964, Vol. 3, London, 1986, p. 60, no. 514, pls. 160-163, another cast illustrated.
A.G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto, 1987, pp. 206-207, no. 163, plaster version illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore Intime, Tokyo, Sezon Museum of Art, 1992, pp. 102, 191, no. 1, another cast illustrated.
D. Ehrlich, Henry Moore, London, 1994, p. 75, another cast illustrated.
J. Hedgecoe, A Monumental Vision, The Sculpture of Henry Moore, New York, 1998, pp. 168-169, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: Back to a Land, Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2015, p. 156, exhibition not numbered, another cast illustrated.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Henry Moore Recent Work, July - August 1963, no. 15, as 'Locking Piece', another cast exhibited.
Plymouth, City Art Gallery, Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings, June - July 1966 no. 42, as 'Sculpture Locking Piece', another cast exhibited.
London, Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Gallery, Henry Moore, July - September 1968, no. 126, another cast exhibited.
York, University of York, Heslington Hall, Henry Moore, March 1969, no. 29, another cast exhibited.
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Henry Moore Sculptures et Dessins, May - August 1977, no. 103, another cast exhibited.
Tokyo, Sezon Museum of Art, Henry Moore Intime, September - November 1992, no. 1, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, November 1992 - January 1993; Hiroshima, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, April - May 1993; and Oita, The Oita Prefectural Museum of Art, June - August 1993.
Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Henry Moore: Back to a Land, March - June 2015, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.
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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Lot Essay

‘…if a work of sculpture has its own life and form, it will be alive and expansive, seeming larger than the stone or wood from which it is carved. It should always give the impression, whether carved or modelled, of having grown organically, created by pressure from within’ (H. Moore, quoted in E. Roditi, Dialogues: Conversations with European Artists at Mid-Century, San Francisco, 1990, p. 103).
‘The whole of nature – bones, pebbles, shells, clouds, tree trunks, flowers – all is grist to the mill of a sculptor’ (H. Moore, quoted in A.G. Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot, 2002, pp. 221-222).

Conceived in 1962, Henry Moore’s Working Model for Locking Piece is a powerful example of the spatial and visual complexity the artist achieved in his sculptures during the mid-late period of his career. Consisting of two undulating rounded forms stacked one atop the other, and then twisted together to create an intricate, interlocking unit, the sculpture is filled with an inner tension that suggests not only the intense pressure and weight the forms exert upon one another, but also the possibility of movement that lies within the configuration, as if a single twist in the right direction may release them from one another. At once completely solid, and yet carrying the potential to be pulled apart, the sculpture explores a visual conundrum that had captivated Moore for years, and provoked memories of his youth. ‘When I made it, I was reminded of puzzles I played with as a child in which there were pieces that fitted together but were more difficult to take apart,’ Moore explained. ‘To make two parts fit you had to put them together in a certain way and then turn them so they would lock’ (H. Moore, quoted in A.G. Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot, 2002, p. 291).

According to the artist, however, the concept for the Locking Piece sculptures was rooted in the natural quirks and intricate relationships of organic material he had discovered around his home in the Hertfordshire countryside. ‘At one time I was playing with a couple of pebbles that I’d picked up, because behind my far field is a gravel pit and there are thousands of shapes and forms and one only has to go out there and I can find twenty new little ideas if I wish, immediately,’ he explained, ‘… and somehow or other they got locked together and I couldn’t get them undone and I wondered how they got into that position …’ (H. Moore, in conversation with Alan Wilkinson c. 1981, quoted in ibid., p. 291). This deceptively simple action sparked the artist’s imagination, leading him to create a series of small maquettes as he searched for the best way to translate this motif into a large-scale sculpture, which in turn led to the present Working Model and the large-scale Locking Piece (1963-64).

In the years following the creation of these works, Moore also linked the sculpture to the interconnected profile of a series of small bone fragments he had discovered in his garden, their unusual forms and dense interlocking profile calling to mind the push and pull of joints as the body moves. Moore’s studio was filled with vast arrays of such material, with rows of fossils and flint, fragments of driftwood and small animal bones filling the cabinets that lined the walls of his workspace. Each piece was kept by the artist as a result of the visual intrigue he detected in its form and his fascination with the ways in which the material had been moulded and shaped, either by the elements or evolution. This environment proved an integral space for Moore’s creative musings, providing inspiration and unexpected encounters at every turn: ‘I like the disarray, the muddle and the profusion of possible ideas in [the studio],’ he once said. ‘It means whenever I go there, within five minutes I can find something to do which may get me working in a way that I hadn’t expected and cause something to happen that I hadn’t foreseen’ (H. Moore, quoted in ibid., p. 63).

While perhaps initially inspired by objects that the artist had discovered in the natural world, the sculptures which resulted from Moore’s explorations of the motif of interlocking forms were not direct translations of these organic fragments, but rather, highly abstracted studies on the interplay of volume and void. As the viewer moves around Working Model for Locking Piece, the character of the sculpture shifts and changes, as different segments embrace, brush and abut one another, and the carefully moulded spaces and gaps between each element alternately open and contract, depending on the angle from which they are considered. At points, the elements appear to merge together to form a tight unit, while in other positions the artist emphasises their independence from one another, posing them as two separate entities twisted into this formation by an unseen hand or force. Taking advantage of the innumerable visual possibilities of the composition, Moore creates a dynamic work of art that slowly reveals itself to the viewer through the act of movement.

In contrast to the large-scale casts of Locking Piece, the entire surface of the present Working Model is filled with coarse hatchings and tool marks, each line a trace of the artist’s hand as it attacked the smooth finish of the plaster model with chisels, rasps, and planes. Working the plaster in this way before casting allowed Moore to indulge his passion for free carving in his bronze works, creating a richly textured surface in the finished work, while also illustrating the central role played by the artist in the direct physical shaping of the material. Striations of varying length and thickness dance and sweep across the sculpture, directing the eye across and around the different elements, inviting us to appreciate the concave curves, sharp edges, and overlapping panels of the finished form, while also subtly referencing the time-worn surfaces of the organic materials which had initially inspired the artist.

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.

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