Lot 34
  • 34

Henry Moore

1,500,000 - 2,500,000 GBP
2,057,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Henry Moore
  • inscribed Moore and numbered 5/9
  • bronze


Lambeth Arts Limited (James H. Kirkman), London
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1973


Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Sculpture 1964-73, London, 1977, vol. 4, no. 612, illustrations of another cast p. 59 and pls. 150-153
David Finn, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, London, 1977, illustrations of another cast pp. 62-66
David Mitchinson (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture, New York, 1981, nos. 494-496, illustrations of another cast pp. 228-229
David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation, London, 1998, no. 225, illustration of another cast p. 298

This work is recorded in the archives of the Henry Moore Foundation.

Catalogue Note

Reclining Connected Forms is an important monumental sculpture, incorporating two recurring themes in Moore's art: a dichotomy between internal and external forms, and the related theme of mother and child. The composition consists of two reclining forms, one nestled inside the other, the larger shape gently curved around the smaller one, sheltering it in a protective gesture. The two forms are highly abstracted, the voluminous shape of the outer one standing in dynamic contrast with the sharper, angular form of the inner one.


Moore's investigations into the relationship of internal and external forms were particularly intense in the early 1950s, when he executed several vertical sculptures titled Upright Internal/External Form. In the present work, Moore revisits this theme, now presenting it in a reclining format. While it is executed with a high degree of abstraction, Reclining Connected Forms is clearly a continuation of the artist's interest in recumbent figures, as well as in the motif of the mother and child.


Deborah Emont-Scott wrote about the present composition: 'Moore's initial interest in the internal/external form was realised in a mid-1930s series of drawings of a Malangan figure from New Ireland, Oceania. Moore wrote: "... the carvings of New Ireland have, besides their vicious kind of vitality, a unique spatial sense, a bird-in-a-cage form". Through the decades, Moore turned from the vertical stance of his internal/external forms to renderings of this motif in a horizontal position, which now became a reclining figure. In this highly abstracted sculpture, the internal and external sections look more like a landscape element than a human figure. The undulating external form appears cave-like, its wall structure hollowed out through the natural force of wind or water. The interior element solidly rests in the embrace of the form that surrounds it. The reclining figure reads as a mother either with a foetus in her womb or with a child in her embrace. The child-like form is angular in contrast to the organic flow of the "mother". The diamond-shaped torso of the child differs sharply from the organic rhythms of the mother's form suggesting that it is still in the "rough", not yet completely shaped, but rather emerging, still to find its form' (D. Emont-Scott, in David Mitchinson (ed.), op. cit., 1998, pp. 298-299).


Other casts of this work are at the University of Adelaide in south Australia, Trinity College in Dublin, Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York, on Park Avenue, New York and at the Henry Moore Foundation, England. The 8-metre long version of Reclining Connected Forms, carved by Moore in travertine marble in 1974, is the largest carving in Moore's œuvre. It was formerly in the collection of The Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore (fig. 1), and sold at Sotheby's New York in May 1990. It is now part of the CityCenter Fine Art Collection on public display in Las Vegas.


Fig. 1, Henry Moore, Large Reclining Connected Forms, 1974, travertine marble, on display in the City of Baltimore (formerly in the collection of The Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore and now part of the CityCenter Fine Art Collection, Las Vegas)