Henry Moore O.M., C.H. (British, 1898-1986) Reclining Figure: One Arm 33 cm. (13 in.) long (including bronze base)
Lot 69AR
Henry Moore O.M., C.H. (British, 1898-1986) Reclining Figure: One Arm 33 cm. (13 in.) long (including bronze base)
Sold for £115,250 (US$ 185,776) inc. premium

Lot Details
Henry Moore O.M., C.H. (British, 1898-1986) Reclining Figure: One Arm 33 cm. (13 in.) long (including bronze base)
Various Properties
Henry Moore O.M., C.H. (British, 1898-1986)
Reclining Figure: One Arm
signed and numbered 'Moore 9/9' (on the bronze base)
bronze with a brown patina
33 cm. (13 in.) long (including bronze base)
Conceived in 1938 and cast in 1968

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    James Kirkman, 21 September 1973, where acquired by the mother of the present owner
    Thence by descent

    LITERATURE:
    Alan Bowness (Ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1980-86, Vol.6, London, 1999, as an Addenda to Volume 1 1921-48, cat.no.186a, p.29 & pl.18 (another cast ill.b&w)

    'The popular conception of Moore as the master of the reclining figure is correct.'

    (Kenneth Clark, Henry Moore Drawings, Thames and Hudson, London 1974, p.193)

    It was Kenneth Clark , Ex-Director of the National Gallery, who described Henry Moore's works on paper executed throughout 1938 as 'the vintage year'. He goes on to comment that he supposes the first of these was Reclining Figures (see Fig.1), which shows three different, partly abstracted life forms, resting in different positions. The figure situated upper right is the idea we see Moore fleshing out for the present lot, which was conceived in the same year and cast in bronze in 1968.

    The drawing has been adhered to almost exactly by the sculptor; the metamorphic sensual female figure with her split head, sinuous curves, small breasts and pierced oval form all correspond perfectly. In the drawing, however, the viewer is not privy to the aesthetic charm of the reverse of the work when realised in three dimensions. The gently curved back has been hollowed out in line with the figure's spine, and patinated with a darker colour, to create a dramatic sense of depth and beauty, accentuated by the subtle rounding off of edges along the figure's head.

    The reclining figure motif was the longest standing of the artist's career, spanning seven decades, and first in evidence as early as the beginning of the 1920s. Only the mother and child theme competed for the artist's attention in a similar way. Relatively few sculptures by Moore came to fruition during the late 1930s (Kenneth Clark suggesting that perhaps the drawings were comprehensive and finished enough in their own right) and sixteen of those which did, incorporated string or wire (see Bonhams sale, 16 November 2011, lot 31, Stringed Reclining Figure sold for £283,250). A small number of others were carved in wood, or made out of melted lead, such as Reclining Figure (1938) in the collection of Museum of Modern Art, New York, where the emphasis is more on space rather than substance.

    In Reclining Figure: One Arm, which has never previously appeared at auction, we see an interest in spatial relationships by the use of the attractive pierced form, but the work is imbued with a solidity lacking in many from this period.

    We are grateful to The Henry Moore Foundation for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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