Lot 28
  • 28

Henry Moore, O.M., C.H.

300,000 - 500,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Henry Moore OM, CH
  • bronze
  • height: 32cm.,
  • 12 5/8 in.


Lefevre Gallery (Alex Reid & Lefevre), London
Mrs John Whitney Payson, New York
Private Collection, USA


Robert Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, no. 400, illustration of another cast
Henry J. Seldis, Henry Moore in America, Praeger, 1973, illustrated p. 88
David Mitchinson (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture, London, 1981, no. 201, colour illustration of another cast
Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, 1949-54, London, 1986, vol. 2, no. 276, illustration of another cast pl. 16
Susan Compton, Henry Moore, New York, 1988, no. 110, illustration of another cast p. 89

Catalogue Note

Beginning in 1950, Henry Moore executed a series of sculptures of a mother seated in a rocking chair and lifting her child in the air. This work was inspired by the artist's own family life, and he regarded the sculpture not only as a work of art but also as a functioning object to amuse his four-year old daughter. 'The rocking chair sculptures were done for my daughter Mary, as toys which actually rock,' the artist wrote. 'I discoved while doing them that the speed of the rocking depended on the curvature of the base and the diposition of the weights and balances of the sculpture, so each of them rocks at different speed' (Henry Moore & John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, p. 178).

Over the course of three years (1950-52), the sculptor created six versions of the rocking chair, the present work being the third of four versions completed in 1950. In some of the versions, the chair has a ladderback or a hollowback against which the mother sits. But in the present work, the mother's body and the structure of the chair are one and the same, demonstrating Moore's ability to abstract the human form and anthropomorphise inanimate objects. 

The present bronze belonged to the family of Joan Whitney Payson, a prominent American philanthropist and patron of the arts. As an avid collector, Joan Whitney Payson purchased primarily works by French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and American painters, and later donated significant works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.