- Henry Moore
- FAMILY GROUP
Jeffrey Loria, New York (acquired from the above in the 1960s)
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2000
Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, no. 122, illustration of another cast
Ionel Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, no. 251, edition catalogue p. 75
John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, London, 1970, no. 3, illustration of another cast p. 176
Robert Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, no. 364, illustration of another cast p. 170
One of the key subjects of Henry Moore's art, the theme of a family group was particularly prominent in his sculpture during the years 1944-48. As the artist explained: 'The idea of the family group crystallised before the war. Henry Morris, the Director of Education for Cambridgeshire, asked me to do a sculpture for the Impington Village College, the first of the modern schools in England. It had been designed by Walter Gropius. As the College was going to be used for adult education as well, the idea of connecting parents and children came into my mind. I think that the first family group drawings and maquettes were done in 1935-6, although I didn't actually make the full-size sculpture until later' (quoted in J. Hedgecoe, op. cit., p. 163).
Although the project was never realised due to lack of funding, the artist carried on exploring this theme in numerous drawings, most of them made in bomb shelters in London during World War II. The series reflected both Moore's wish for peace and harmony in the post-war world and his expression of happiness during the birth of his daughter Mary. The artist said of this series: 'The family group ideas were all generated by drawings: and that was perhaps because the whole family group idea was so close to one as a person; we were just going to have our first child Mary, and it was an obsession' (quoted in Julie Summers, Henry Moore, From the Inside Out, Munich, 1996).
Discussing this important series in the context of the artist's œuvre, Will Grohmann wrote: 'With the Family Group theme Moore regained his freedom since the commissions received were less restricting. He started working on these groups at about the same time as the Madonna. In the years 1944 to 1947 he produced a number of larger and smaller variations in stone, bronze and terracotta, differing considerably from one another, being both naturalistic and non-naturalistic, though never as abstract as the Reclining Figures. The theme does not hem him in, but demands a certain readiness to enter into the meaning of a community such as a family' (W. Grohmann, op. cit., p. 141). While most of his family groups are depicted frontally, in the present work Moore depicted the figures at an angle, turned towards each other, emphasising the sense of community and closeness.
Fig. 1, Henry Moore in front of a larger version of Family Group, in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1965