Lot 38
  • 38

Henry Moore

4,000,000 - 6,000,000 USD
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  • Henry Moore
  • Standing figure
  • Bronze
  • Height: 87 in.
  • 221 cm


Wildenstein, Tokyo

PaceWildenstein, New York

Acquired from the above in 1996


David Lewis, "Moore and Hepworth: A Comparison of Their Sculpture," in College Art Journal, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Summer 1955), illustration of another cast p. 317

Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore, Princeton, 1959, pp. 154-158, illustration of another cast fig. 74

Art of Henry Moore, New York, 1960, p. 195, illustration of another cast pl. 147-148

Alan Bowness & Herbert Read, eds., Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, Vol. 2,  London, 1965, no. 290, illustrations of another cast  pls. 18, 18a-c

Philip James, ed., Henry Moore on Sculpture, New York, 1971, illustration of another cast pl. 35

David Finn, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, London, 1977,  illustrations of other casts pp. 292-297 & 483

Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings, 1921-1969, New York, 1971, pp. 26, 167, illustrated pls. 408-409 & 411

Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, Vol. 2, 1986, no. 290, illustrated pl. 36-39

Henry Moore & John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, San Francisco, 1986, no. 26, illustrations of another cast  pp. 129 & 198

Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, New York, 1987,  illustration of another cast pl. 106

Claude Allemand-Cosneau, Manfred Fath, & David Mitchinson, Henry Moore From the Inside Out: Plasters, Carvings and Drawings, New York, 1996, p. 37, illustrated fig. 17

Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, Berkeley, 1998, pp. 15 & 164

Ian Dejardin, Ann Garrould & Anita Feldman Bennet, Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 2004, figs. 50, 55, illustrations of another cast p. 162 

Christa Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work – Theory – Impact, London, 2008, pp. 83, 289, 332

Chris Stephens, ed., Henry Moore, New York, 2010, fig. 55, illustration of another cast


Very good condition. The bronze displays a brown patina with green undertones. No significant scratches or abrasions were observed on the figure. The brown copper-clad base has several minor crimps in the metal along the bottom edge. The metal is pushed in slightly just under the top edge of the base on the PL front face and on the PR side of the base along the bottom edge. The vertical seams in the copper cladding are slightly open. The figure rotates somewhat on its base when pushed. The sculpture itself is structurally sound and in very good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Standing at over two meters high, Moore's exceptional Standing Figure exemplifies the power and structural vitality that the artist sought to invest in his monumental sculptures.  Moore created this work around the same time as the Festival of Britain, a nationalistic commemoration honoring the rebuilding of the country following the destruction of the war.  In the context of post-war England, as Elizabeth Brown writes, "this solitary figure assumes a mythic heroism, bravely facing the unknown in a vast and barren space" (E. Brown, "Moore Looking: Photography and the Presentation of Sculpture," Henry Moore, Sculpting in the 20th Century, National Gallery of Art,  Washington, D.C., p. 293).

Moore was captivated by the human figure throughout his career, and this work is a rare example of his focus on the architecture of the body and its skeletal structure.  While he often sculpted the undulating forms of reclining women, in Standing Figure, he broke from his routine to experiment with geometric shapes and vertical lines.  He wrote: "One of the things I would like to think my sculpture has is a force, is a strength, is a life, a vitality from inside it, so that you have a sense that the form is pressing from inside trying to burst or trying to give off the strength from inside itself, rather than having something which is just shaped from outside and stopped....This is, perhaps, what makes me interested in bones as much as in flesh because the bone is the inner structure of all living form.  It's the bone that pushes out from inside" (quoted in D. Mitchinson, Henry Moore Sculpture with comments by the artist, New York, 1981, p. 130).

Standing Figure is one of Moore's most dynamic and complexly-modeled vertical compositions.  Although a single form, it is composed as if each shape is stacked upon the next.  The figure is fragmented and asymmetrical, such that the form emerges gradually as it is seen from different angles.  The vertical lines of the bones are interrupted by horizontal planks at the knees and hips and protruding triangles as shoulder blades.  Instead of a head, two bulbous stalks protrude from shoulder and extend toward the sky.

For Moore, the setting of his works was as important as the forms to creating a harmony between figure and landscape, tactile object and open space.  The artist was particularly pleased by the first placement of this sculpture in 1951 in an open-air exhibition at Battersea Park in London.  He was "delighted to see a piece of [his] sculpture against a quiet expanse of water.  It was an effect produced by a very sharp contrast – a gaunt figure rising in agitated verticals from the verge of a calm, flat sheet of water that seemed the very essence of horizontalism" (quoted in P. James, ed., Henry Moore on Sculpture, New York, 1971, p. 110). 

According to the Henry Moore Foundation, the present sculpture is from an edition of four unmarked bronzes.  Two from this edition are at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Glenkiln Sculpture Park in Scotland.  Moore was particularly impressed by the installation at Glenkiln estate (fig. 1).  He wrote that when he visited he "was thrilled with the beautiful landscape and at how well he [Sir William Keswick, owner of the estate] had sited 'Yon Figure' (the sculpture's local name)" (quoted in D. Finn, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, London, 1977, p. 266).  The striking presence of the Standing Figure in the rocky landscape has made this image one of the most frequently reproduced in Moore's oeuvre.