HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
2 More
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
5 More
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)

Maquette for King and Queen

Details
HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
Maquette for King and Queen
bronze with a light brown patina
10 5/8 in. (27 cm.) high
Conceived and cast in 1952 in an edition of 10, plus an artist's cast.
Provenance
with Grob Gallery, London.
with The Pace Gallery, New York, where purchased by the present owners on 13 April 1994.
Literature
Ambassador Magazine, 'Henry Moore', London, 1953, another cast illustrated.
I. Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, p. 78, no. 319.
J. Hedgecoe and H. Moore, Henry Spencer Moore, New York, 1968, pp. 216, 443, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: Sculptures et Dessins, Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, 1977, p. 168, no. 71, illustrated.
W.S. Lieberman, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection: Masterpieces of Modern Art, New York, 1981, p. 144, another cast illustrated.
W. Rubin (ed.), exhibition catalogue, Primitivism in Twentieth Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and Modern, Vol. II, New York, 1984, p. 594, another cast illustrated.
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture: 1949-54, Vol. 2, London, 1986, pp. 48-49, no. 348, pl. 123, another cast illustrated.
J. Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, London, 1986, p. 156.
R. Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, New York, 1987, pp. 148, 239.
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: Intime, Tokyo, Sezon Museum of Art, 1992, pp. 96, 180, no. Fa-31, illustrated.
P. McCaughey, exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore and the Heroic: A Centenary Tribute, Connecticut, Yale Center for British Art, 1999, n.p., no. 9, another cast illustrated.
A. Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Berkley, 2002, p. 281.
J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore: A Monumental Vision, Cologne, 2005, p. 216, no. 321, another cast illustrated.
Exhibited
Plymouth, City Art Gallery, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings, June - July 1966, no. 14, as 'King and Queen'.
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Henry Moore: Sculptures et Dessins, May - August 1977, no. 71.
Tokyo, Sezon Museum of Art, Henry Moore: Intime, September - November 1992, no. Fa-31: this exhibition travelled to Kitakyushu, Municipal Museum of Art, November 1992 - January 1993; Hiroshima, City Museum of Contemporary Art, April - May 1993; and Oita, The Prefectural Museum of Art, June - August 1993.
New York, The Pace Gallery, Sculptors Maquettes, January - February 1994, no. 2.
Connecticut, Yale Center for British Art, Henry Moore and the Heroic: A Centenary Tribute, January - March 1999, no. 9, 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.
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.

Brought to you by

Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Henry Moore’s King and Queen works are regarded among his most popular and recognised sculptures. Maquette for King and Queen, was conceived in 1952, and cast in an edition of 10. The King and Queen works are the only sculptures depicting a single pair of adult figures in Moore's output. The final monumental version, cast the following year, measures nearly 65 inches (164 cm.) high. Originally made for the Middelheim Museum, Antwerp in 1953, other casts of King and Queen are in the collection of the Tate, London; the MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan; formerly on display in the Glenkiln Sculpture Park, Dumfries; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; and the Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green.

Roger Berthoud, Moore's biographer, notes that King and Queen has become, ‘the most famous of all Moore's bronzes and the anthology piece which big collectors and museums ardently seek’ (R. Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, London, 1987, p. 239). He adds that several critics, including Alan Bowness and David Sylvester, preferred Maquette for King and Queen to the large-scale sculpture.

Maquette for King and Queen, as its title denotes, presents the hieratic figures of the two rulers next to each other. There has been much debate as to the inspiration behind Moore’s King and Queen works. Moore claimed that the King and Queen bore no connection to present-day Kings and Queens, but many critics question this, finding it hard to believe that Moore was not influenced by the ‘patriotic fervour stimulated by the Coronation and what was often called the beginning of a New Elizabethan Age’ (J. Read, ‘King and Queen, 1952-53’, in D. Mitchinson, Celebrating Moore, London, 2006, p. 238). With the death of King George VI in 1952 and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Alice Correia argues that, ‘It seems an unlikely coincidence that the only identified couple in Moore’s output – a King and Queen – should have been made in the same year that Great Britain and the Commonwealth welcomed a new monarch’.

Moore, however, explained that he was influenced by more domestic events, recalling that, ‘whilst manipulating a piece of wax, it began to look like a horned, Pan-like, bearded head. Then it grew a crown and I recognised immediately as the head of a king. I continued and gave it a body ... Then I added a second figure to it and it became a 'King and Queen.' I realise now that it was because I was reading stories to Mary, my six-year-old daughter, every night, and most of them were about kings and queens and princesses’ (H. Moore, quoted in A. Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore Writings and Conversations, Berkeley, 2002, p. 281).

In Maquette for King and Queen, Moore’s figures are imbued with an ancient, and an otherworldly majesty, which appears to be a more primitive and timeless notion of kingship, rather than a modern conception of royalty. This is felt in the formal references to the royal groups from ancient dynastic Egypt or to archaic Greek sculpture, however, no allusions to any specific myth or historical figures were intended.

Moore cited one source for his King and Queen works as an ancient Egyptian limestone sculpture in the British Museum, of a husband and wife seated next to one another, their figures enveloped in robes with their feet planted firmly on the ground. He recalled, ‘I was reminded of an Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum that I had seen many times of an official and his wife. But somehow the sculptor had raised them above this status and had given them greater dignity and self-assurance, almost a nobility or purpose to make them appear above normal life. I've tried to inject some of this feeling into my sculpture’ (J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, London, 1986, p. 156). So significant was the British Museum as an inspiration for his work that he dedicated a book to the subject in 1981, in which he wrote about this particular sculpture: ‘This has always been a great favourite of mine. For me these two people are terribly real and I feel the difference between male and female. The sculptor had done it in an obvious way by making the man slightly bigger than the woman, but it works, and this influenced me when I came to make my bronze King and Queen. It is such a pity the hands are damaged for, after the face, I think the hands are the most expressive part of the body. But even damaged the arms have a superb sense of repose and serenity which is so characteristic of Egyptian sculpture. Notice too that there are no marks of aging on the faces. The pair are represented at an ideal age, one of full growth but before disillusionment has set in’ (H. Moore, Henry Moore at the British Museum, London, 1981, p. 38).

These qualities of humanity and timelessness, which he found in the Egyptian sculptures at the British Museum, can be seen in Maquette for King and Queen. Here, like in many of Moore’s finest works, the artist has tapped into universal archetypes that know neither time nor place, but whose presence constitutes an essential component in the drama of the human psyche. Will Grohmann explains that Moore's conception of his subject was the, ‘combination of nature, man and animal, of the totality of the world, sculpturally speaking of the unity of natural and supernatural, objective and abstract. Thus there is a synthesis here too, synthesis in the combination of the archaic with the contemporary, the unconscious with the spiritual’ (W. Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, p. 148).

In the present work the artist oscillates between naturalism and surrealism. His figures’ hands and feet are naturalistically sculpted, whereas the heads of his couple are decidedly oneiric in quality. Moore explained: ‘Perhaps the 'clue' to the group is the King's Head, which is a combination of a crown, beard and face symbolising a mixture of primitive kingship and a kind of animal, Pan-like quality. The King is more relaxed and assured in pose than the Queen, who is more upright and consciously queenly. When I came to do the hands and feet of the figures they gave me a chance to express my ideas further by making them more realistic – to bring out the contrast between human grace and the concept of power in primitive kingship’ (H. Moore, quoted in D. Mitchinson (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture with Comments by the Artist, London, 1981, p. 123).

Moore envisioned his King and Queen as being connected to the beneficent communal ideal that informs his earlier Family Group sculptures. They appear wise, charitable and magnanimous. John Read comments that the figures in King and Queen, ‘have an air of authority, but their grouping side by side emphasises their domesticity. The realistic modelling of their hands and feet illustrate their humanity. This royal family serves as a multiple of parenthood and of the hieratic aspect of a couple who are also the symbolic parents of a nation, at one and the same time, stern, protective and remote’ (J. Read, Portrait of an Artist: Henry Moore, London, 1979, p. 110).

In Maquette for King and Queen, the elegance of the figures is accentuated by the innovative framing device. Its geometric form contrasts with the naturalistic, organic forms of the figures, adding an intriguing dynamism to the composition and also to the relationship between the couple. It serves to define their relationship to the space within it, whilst also elevating their modest bench to that delineating a throne. The frame appears to evoke the tradition of painting, perhaps even of royal portraiture, yet Moore has used it in order to emphasise the extent to which, in terms of both form and of subject matter, he has broken free of those limitations. In the final monumental version, cast the following year, Moore omitted this frame, probably because it did not suit the monumental scale of the full-sized figures and projected insufficient visual impact in the outdoor environment for which he intended the sculpture. Moore explained: ‘In life size they didn’t need the reference to an upright and a horizontal, as the pose of each figure became obvious’ (H. Moore, quoted in J. Hedgecoe, op. cit., p. 216).

The King and Queen series has been widely acknowledged as one of Moore’s finest works. Will Grohmann praised King and Queen, ‘as a highwater mark in Moore's creative work, a monument – for that is what it is – timeless and without specific purpose. It quickly won public recognition and higher esteem than the more naturalistic Madonnas at Northampton and for St Peter's Church in Claydon’ (W. Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, p. 148).

More from Modern British Art Evening Sale

View All
View All