HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE FOUNDATION MIREILLE AND JAMES LÉVY
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)

Small Maquette No. 2 for Reclining Figure

HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
Small Maquette No. 2 for Reclining Figure
signed and numbered 'Moore 5/9' (on the side of the base)
bronze with a dark brown patina
9 ¼ in. (23.5 cm.) long
Conceived in 1950 and cast in 1965.
Private collection, UK.
with Waddington Galleries, London, 1973.
with Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owners in May 1989.
I. Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, p. 76, no. 277.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore, London, Waddington Galleries, 1973, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: Sculptures et Dessins, Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, 1977, p. 166, no. 59, another cast illustrated.
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture: 1949-54, Vol. 2, London, 1986, pp. 32-33, no. 292b, another cast illustrated.
D. Sylvester (intro.), exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore, Sketch-Models and Working-Models, Coventry, Mead Gallery, 1990, n.p., no. 12, fig. 1, another cast illustrated.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Henry Moore, July - August 1965, no. 3, another cast exhibited.
Chicago, The University of Chicago, Chicago's Homage to Henry Moore: An Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawings by Henry Moore, December 1967, no. 108, another cast exhibited.
London, Waddington Galleries, Sculpture, July - August 1973.
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Henry Moore: Sculptures et Dessins, May - August 1977, no. 59, another cast exhibited.
Coventry, Mead Gallery, Henry Moore, Sketch-Models and Working-Models, May - June 1990, no. 12, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Huddersfield, Art Gallery, June - August 1990; Wrexham, Library Arts Centre, August - October 1990; Bristol, Museum and Art Gallery, October - November 1990; Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery, December 1990 - January 1991; Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, January - March 1991; and Stirling, Smith Art Gallery, March - April 1991.
Perry Green, Henry Moore Foundation, Henry Moore: War and Utility, April 2001 - September 2002, another cast exhibited.
Perry Green, Henry Moore Foundation, Henry Moore Textiles, April - October 2008, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Edinburgh, Dovecot Tapestry Studios, November 2008 - January 2009; and Chichester, Pallant House Gallery, November 2009 - February 2010.
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. Cancellation under the EU Consumer Rights Directive may apply to this lot. Please see here for further information. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay


The Collection of Mireille and James Lévy is a celebration of graceful and poetic forms. The Lévys’ refined their preference and palate for art through a combination of extensive travels, exposure to art and architecture and distinguished instinct drawn from their Egyptian roots.

Like many successful collections, the paintings and sculptures acquired by Mireille and James Lévy defy strict categorisation. Connoisseurs in the true sense of the word, the couple sought out objects with which they formed a very personal connection, displaying them with finesse and pride in their exquisite homes in Lausanne, Manhattan and Longboat Key. Undeterred by academic classifications, their premise was of “collecting pioneers of style and time. It goes without saying that we must find the works aesthetically pleasing,” the couple told Architectural Digest in March 1987, “but what most interests us is that these artists are witnesses to their time.”

The juxtaposition between the formal and expressive, and between colour and form, is what breathes life into the Lévys’ collection. Their art collection spans the work of many of the twentieth century’s best-known artists, from the Dada inspired forms of Jean (Hans) Arp to the Modernist renderings of the human body by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. While much of the collection consists of three-dimensional works, the Lévys embraced all forms of artistic expression, from the fluid two-dimensional forms of the Colour Field painters. Centrifugal, a classic Burst painting by Adolph Gottlieb, sits alongside Number 20, Morris Louis’s towering painting of colorful striations, with both works speaking to the formal investigations into the fundamental nature of painting that engaged many artists during the period.

Over three decades during the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, Warhol became the ‘Chronicler-in-Chief’ of the American cultural zeitgeist, taking inspiration from the everyday and turned it into high art. The couple embraced the major Pop Art artists such as Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann, who had abandoned the prevailing forms of abstraction to develop a groundbreaking form of figurative painting. Warhol’s disco-hued portraits of Marilyn Monroe are particularly fine examples of his unique blend of cultural high-living. In addition to the Pop hedonism of Warhol and Tom Wesselmann, the collection contains several notable examples of the more conceptual concerns that were occupying many artists of the period.

Masterpieces of their collection will be offered in auctions across a number of international sale sites this year, from Paris, New York and London, where a number of strong 20th Century sculptures by key Modern British artists, lead our Modern British Day Sale, on the 2 March.

While building their remarkable collection, the couple also had a desire to share their love of art with a wider audience. They donated works from their art collection both to major international museum collections and lesser known European institutions; from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, the Lévys’ generosity was transformational to these institutions’ collections. Now, their largesse continues, as the proceeds from the sale of these works will continue their legacy of extraordinary philanthropy. Many institutions in the United States, Switzerland and Israel, including hospitals, medical research centers, museums and resettlement agencies for Jewish refugees have received donations during the Lévys’ lifetime, and will continue to do so now, through the Foundation Mireille and James Lévy, the primary beneficiary of their joint estate.


Of Egyptian-Jewish heritage, living between Switzerland and the USA and with James overseeing a worldwide network of brokerages, Mireille and James Lévy were citizens of the world whose taste in art reflected their cosmopolitan lifestyle. Most well-known in collecting fields for their donations of Dubuffet works to the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, and of American artworks to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, they were also enthusiastic collectors of 20th Century British sculpture. A number of these works will be offered in the present sale and in the Modern British Art Day sale on 2 March.

In an April 1993 feature in the French contemporary art magazine L’Œil, James explained the principles guiding the couple’s collecting: works must celebrate pioneers and leaders in their field; they must reflect important moments in the history of art leading up to the present day; and they must provoke an emotional response. The present selection perfectly illustrates this philosophy. For example, Maquette for King and Queen and Small Maquette No. 2 for Reclining Figure relate to Moore’s most iconic monumental sculptures and represent him at the height of his creative powers. They date to 1950-1952, the epoch of the Festival of Britain and a milestone moment in the history of modern British art. Hepworth’s works Square Forms (Two Sequences) and Three Round Forms exemplify the advanced abstraction of the artist’s mature practice. The former work was one of the first sculptures acquired by the Lévys and was purchased in 1973, two years before Hepworth’s death. Meanwhile, Flanagan’s Les Deux was acquired by Mireille and James in 1998, the same year of its execution. Featuring the artist’s signature leaping hares, a more quintessential example of Flanagan’s post-1980 work could hardly be found.

Befitting the couple’s long years of marriage and philanthropic efforts, there is a humane, warm quality apparent in many of the sculptures from the Lévys’ collection. Works such as Moore’s tender Family Group or Flanagan’s joyful Les Deux seem to delight in love and togetherness. Generally modest in scale, these are tactile, highly liveable objects perfectly suited to the couple’s relatively small apartments in both Manhattan and Lausanne. In fact, the Manhattan apartment was built around the collection, with architect Michael de Santis working from photographs and dimensions of artworks to design and fulfil the space. Mireille and James’ creation of homes based fundamentally around their art collection amply illustrates the couple’s emotional connection to the works, their enjoyment of them, and their respect for them as ground-breaking cultural artefacts.

‘Now that I work with a maquette, I can turn it over, hold it, look at it from underneath, from above, and the smaller it is in a way the more do you do this turning ... I think now that in working with maquettes, my sculpture is more truly dimensional’
-Henry Moore

Small Maquette No. 2 for Reclining Figure is one of just two maquettes that Moore conceived in preparation for his most celebrated masterpiece: Reclining Figure: Festival, 1951 (a cast of which sold in these Rooms, 30 June 2016, lot 8, for a world record price of £24,722,500). Commissioned by the Arts Council in 1949, Moore was invited to create a sculpture for the upcoming Festival of Britain to be held in 1951, a momentous event to celebrate the post-war resurgence of Britain’s technological and cultural prowess. Indeed, as a focal point on the newly-built South Bank in London, the monumental sculpture symbolised for many visitors the resilience and inventiveness of the British people in the wake of the Second World War. It was the very embodiment of the occasion for which it was made: one of the finest and most ambitious of all the artist’s great series of reclining figures – a work that marks a moment of triumph and culmination in Moore’s practice as well as a new beginning.

Moore deemed Reclining Figure: Festival to be one of the most significant sculptures he had ever created. As he explained, this figure represented a watershed moment, being ‘perhaps my first sculpture where the space and the form are completely dependent on and inseparable from each other. I had reached the stage where I wanted my sculpture to be truly three-dimensional. In my earliest use of holes in sculpture, the holes were features in themselves. Now the space and form are so naturally fused they are one’ (H. Moore, quoted in J. Hedgecoe, Henry Spencer Moore, New York, 1968, p. 188). This unprecedented unity between solid and void meant that the empty spaces flowing through the sculpture now assumed as much importance as the solid form itself.

The present maquette is key to this period of Moore’s practice. In order to generate the greater fusion of form and space that he sought, Moore employed a working method that was to shape his whole approach to sculpture thereafter. Whilst Moore used sketches to generate the initial idea for Reclining Figure: Festival, the maquette served as the basis for an intermediate "working model" size from which the larger sculpture evolved. This became his modus operandi and from the mid-1950s onwards, when Moore was striving for an ever-greater three-dimensionality, maquettes largely replaced his use of drawings in the initial conception of the work.

It was this new heightened concern with three-dimensionality and the fusion of space and form which separated the final version of Small Maquette No. 2, Reclining Figure from Moore's earlier recumbent figures. Commentators, both at the time it was first exhibited and today, have interpreted Reclining Figure: Festival in different ways. For some, its haunting skeletal form embodies a sense of anxiety, created as it was, in the wake of the war. For others though, it is a celebration of humanity's survival, the sculpture's form and distinguished lines denoting strength. These various interpretations are themselves reflective of Moore's later comment that ‘sculpture should always at first sight have some obscurities, and further meanings. People should want to go on looking and thinking; it should never tell all about itself immediately ... In my sculpture explanations often come afterwards’ (H. Moore, quoted in A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture: 1964-1973, Vol. 4, London, 1977, p. 17).

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