Private Collection (sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 14, 1997, lot 396)
Acquired at the above sale
Franco Russoli & David Mitchinson, Henry Moore Sculpture, London, 1981, no. 572, illustration of another cast p. 275
Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, 1974-80, vol. 5, London, 1983, no. 677, illustration of another cast pls. 60 & 61
The Henry Moore Foundation, Henry Moore: The Human Dimension, London, 1991, illustration of another cast
Moore's reclining figures are among his most celebrated and spatially sophisticated works. Beginning in the 1920s and until the end of his life he would continually rework the motif, repositioning, dividing and in some cases abstracting the body so that only its elemental nature remained intact. The present work dates from his late career, when he had mastered the most technically complex expressions of this form. Moore himself described the progression of his sculpture as "becoming less representational, less outwardly a visual copy, and so what some people would call more abstract; but only because in this way I can present the human psychological context of my work with the greatest clearness and intensity" (quoted in F. S. Wight, "Henry Moore: The Reclining Figure," The Columbus Museum Exhibition Catalogue, 1984, p. 131).
Working Model for Reclining Figure: Prop, which bears a finely nuanced green patina, is from an edition of 9 bronzes. The figure appears to be directly related to the Mexican pre-Columbian figure known as Chacmool, which was a stylistic catalyst for Moore's initial exploration of this theme in the 1920s. Although the figure here is rendered in one piece, there is a suggestion of division that is emphasized by the mid-line "prop" supporting the figure's left arm.
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