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 FROM THE FOUNDATION MIREILLE AND JAMES LÉVY
Henry Moore (1898-1986)

Seated Woman in Chair

Details
Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Seated Woman in Chair
signed and numbered 'Moore 4⁄6' (on the left side of the chair); signed and numbered again 'Moore 4⁄6' (on the back of the base)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 10 1⁄4 in. (26 cm.)
Conceived in 1956; this bronze version cast in 1964
Provenance
Joseph Goukassow, New York; Estate sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, 22 October 1976, lot 343.
Private collection, New York (acquired at the above sale); sale, Christie's, New York, 13 May 1992, lot 299.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
Literature
A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, 1955-1964, London, 1986, vol. 3, p. 32, no. 418a (another cast illustrated).
J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore: A Monumental Vision, Cologne, 2005, p. 222, no. 384 (another cast illustrated, p. 223).

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Lot Essay

Although Moore was enormously prolific within the medium, the present bronze represents an especially iconic musing on the theme of the seated figure. Initially conceived as Moore designed his UNESCO Reclining Figure of 1957-1958 (Bowness, vol. 3, no. 416), Seated Woman in Chair served as an early study for this seminal commission. For the UNESCO commission, the sculptor initially envisioned a family group of seated figures before curved and open walls; however, he completed a monumental reclining figure in Roman travertine marble. The present work demonstrates Moore’s understanding of the expressive possibilities of the human body, as her slender arms cross over her knees, and she leans forward in her seat. Moore believed “everything in the world of form is understood through our own bodies. From our mother’s breast, from our bones, from bumping into things, we learn what is rough and what is smooth” (quoted in A. Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Berkeley, 2002, p. 221). Even in this small scale, Moore’s extensive interest in texture and drapery manifest, with the contrast between the meticulous bronze ridges of her skirt and the smooth surface of her skin providing visual intrigue, although both are molded of the same medium.
The present work is closely related to a smaller bronze of the same date, Seated Woman with Book (Bowness, vol. 3, no. 418b). Although the woman’s posture is nearly identical in the related works, the differences between the two works reveal Moore’s interest in the architectural potentiality of the chair. In the present example, she rests on a bench. Entirely lacking a back, and held aloft by a pair of rounded, square sides, the chair recalls the form of a chariot. Indeed, only six years prior, Alberto Giacometti had conceived and cast his famed Le Chariot. While Moore and Giacometti’s styles may appear at odds on the surface, Moore eulogized Giacometti upon the latter’s death in 1966. “We have just lost a great artist with a profound sensibility—a unique human being. Giacometti knew and appreciated the artistic tradition stretching right back to ancient times and including such art as Egyptian and Etruscan sculpture, and reaching right up to the great masters such as Cézanne. This knowledge was combined with the precise observation of nature. He created his own poignant and personal world” (quoted in ibid., p. 152).

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