HENRY MOORE (1898-1986)
HENRY MOORE (1898-1986)
HENRY MOORE (1898-1986)
2 More
HENRY MOORE (1898-1986)
5 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE EYE OF A SCULPTOR: WORKS FROM THE DAVID AND LAURA FINN COLLECTION
HENRY MOORE (1898-1986)

Interior Form

HENRY MOORE (1898-1986)
Interior Form
signed and numbered 'Moore 2 / 7' (on the top of the base)
bronze with brown and green patina
Height: 57 in. (144.8 cm.)
Conceived in 1951; cast in 1981 in an edition of seven plus one
Raymond Spencer Company Ltd., Much Hadham.
Acquired from the above on 9 July 1982 by the late owners, and thence by descent.
Exh. cat., Henry Moore in Israel: Sculpture, Drawings and Graphics, Horace Richter Gallery, Tel Aviv, 1982, no. 5, pp. 18-19 (another cast illustrated).
A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, vol. II, Sculpture 1949-54, London, 1986, no. 296a, p. 35 (another cast illustrated).
Exh. cat., Henry Moore: 85th Birthday Exhibition, Stone Carvings, Bronze Sculptures, Drawings, Malborough Fine Art, London, 1983, no. 27, p. 12 (another cast illustrated p. 56; titled 'Working Model for Interior Form').
O. Kornhoff, ed., Henry Moore: Vision. Creation. Obsession., exh. cat., Arp Museum, Remagen, 2017, no. 100, p. 183 (another cast illustrated n.p.).
Exh. cat., Henry Moore, Fonds Hélène & Édouard Leclerc pour la Culture, Landerneau, 2018, p. 204 (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. Please note that at our discretion some lots may be moved immediately after the sale to our storage facility at Momart Logistics Warehouse: Units 9-12, E10 Enterprise Park, Argall Way, Leyton, London E10 7DQ. At King Street lots are available for collection on any weekday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Collection from Momart is strictly by appointment only. We advise that you inform the sale administrator at least 48 hours in advance of collection so that they can arrange with Momart. However, if you need to contact Momart directly: Tel: +44 (0)20 7426 3000 email: pcandauctionteam@momart.co.uk. 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. Christie’s has a direct financial interest in this lot. Christie’s has guaranteed to the seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee.

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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Director, Senior Specialist

Lot Essay

A powerful testament to Henry Moore’s inventive reimagining of his own work, Interior Form was initially conceived as the central element in the artist’s iconic sculpture Upright Internal/External Form from 1952. In this dynamic composition, which was initially created in plaster before being carved in elm and later cast in bronze, a hollow, protective case wraps around a sinuous, elliptical form that twists dramatically towards the viewer, its curving lines glimpsed through the wide openings in the outer shell. While Moore later discussed numerous sources for this sculpture, from the New Ireland carvings he discovered at the British Museum, to ancient and medieval armour he encountered at the Wallace Collection, there remains a distinct sense of the organic at the heart of the work. ‘It may be that I remembered reading stories that impressed me and Wyndham Lewis talking about the shell of a lobster covering the soft flesh inside,’ he later explained. ‘This became an essential idea in me – that of an outer protection to an inner form… a recording of things inside other things. The mystery of semi-obscurity where one could have distinguish something’ (quoted in A. Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot, 2002, pp. 213-214). Drawing comparisons to molluscs and flower forms, as well as the mother and child motif, this sculptural subject offered Moore a wealth of intriguing elements and concepts to explore over the ensuing years.

In the present work, the partially concealed interior element breaks free of its container, becoming an autonomous, freestanding sculpture in its own right, with its own, unique character. Released from the confines of the shell, it is now possible to appreciate its form entirely in the round, the twisting lines of its body changing shape dramatically as the viewer moves around the piece. ‘A great asset of sculpture in the round…’ Moore proclaimed, ‘is its possibility of an infinite number of different views, giving, in changing lights, a never ending interest and surprise’ (quoted in M. Chamot, D. Farr and M. Butlin, Tate Gallery Catalogues: The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London, 1964, vol. 2, p. 28). Unlike other monolithic standing forms from this period, such as the Upright Motive sculptures the artist created between 1955 and 1956, Interior Form is captured with a lyrical sinuosity, its form delineated using smooth, fluid lines, that curve and flow with an amorphous quality. Punctuated by a trio of openings that tunnel through the bronze, Moore opens the sculpture further, conjuring complex sight-lines and setting up an intriguing play of light that weaves in and around the work.

For Moore, asymmetry and irregularity of form were important indicators of organic, generative energy, and in the present work, the volumes fold and curve in unexpected ways. Speaking to Arnold Haskell in 1932, Moore described the importance of the natural world to his process: ‘I have studied the principles of organic growth in the bones and shells at the Natural History Museum, and have found new form and rhythm that apply to sculpture’ (quoted in A. Wilkinson, op. cit., p. 189). He repeatedly drew inspiration from objects he found in nature – Moore’s studio was filled with a vast array 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. He studied and sketched bones, shells, tree-roots and other organic material, rotating their forms and examining them from a multitude of angles, capturing the manner in which the profile and character of a given object were dramatically altered when viewed from above, head-on, side-ways or from beneath.

In many ways, the biomorphic forms of Interior Form hark back to Moore’s earlier engagements with Surrealism, which had shaped his style so significantly in the years immediately preceding the Second World War. Moore had first encountered André Breton, Paul Éluard, and other members of the Surrealist group on one of his numerous visits to Paris through the 1920s and 30s, and was immediately struck by the freedom of expression and form that marked their art. As he explained in 1937, ‘I find myself lined up with the surrealists because Surrealism means freedom for the creative side of man, for surprise and discovery and life, for an opening out and widening of man’s consciousness, for changing life and against conserving worn out traditions, for variety not a uniformity, for opening not closing…’ (unpublished notes from ‘The Sculptor Speaks’ 1937, quoted in ibid., p. 123). Moore exhibited repeatedly in Surrealist circles in London, Paris and New York during the thirties, while photographs of his work were often reproduced in publications with strong ties to the movement, including Cahiers d’Art and Minotaure.

This interaction with the Surrealists had a profound impact on Moore’s approach to the figure, exposing him to the energising influences of Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Constantin Brancusi, and allowing him to explore new constructive and fragmentary approaches to the body. In many ways, his approach to form found its closest parallels in the work of Jean Arp, whose sculptures were inspired by similar concepts of growth, transience, evolution, entropy and metamorphosis. Indeed, it was the essential spirit of nature, its unseen, driving forces that stood at the core of Moore’s creative vision, finding bold expression in works such as Interior Form.

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