Lot 106
  • 106

Henry Moore

150,000 - 200,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Henry Moore
  • Mother and child
  • Bronze
  • Height (not including base): 20 1/4 in.
  • 51.4 cm


Lefevre Gallery, London
Private Collection, Washington, D.C.
Stephen Mazoh, New York
Acquired from the above in 1967


Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, 1949-1954, vol. II, London, 1986, no. 315, illustration of another cast pl. 83 
Franco Russoli & David Mitchinson, Henry Moore Sculpture with Comments by the Artist, Barcelona, 1988, no. 27, illustration of another cast p. 115

Catalogue Note

The essential importance of maternity within the history of art has been monumentalized by Moore's sculptural exploration, and the theme is repeated again and again throughout the artist’s career. The present work is one of the most striking and unusual examples of a mother and child in all of Moore’s oeuvre and has prompted numerous interpretations. It is perhaps no coincidence that this piece was created after the birth of the artist’s first and only daughter, Mary, in 1946. Roger Berthoud suggests that “Moore was alarmed at the sight of Mary feeding at Irina's breast” (Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, London 1987, p. 198). Moore himself commented, “I wanted it to seem as though the child was trying to devour its parent, as though the parent, the mother, had to hold the child at arm's length” (Alan Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot, 2002, p. 278).

Interviewed for a recent Henry Moore exhibition at Tate Britain, Mary Moore offered her insight into the creation of this work: “The mother's head is very jagged and I wonder if that isn't because, in the fifties, my father thought he would experiment with having a bronze foundry in our garden. You can melt bronze at quite a low temperature so they managed to, with an enormous pair of bellows, have a furnace in the garden, and they cast quite a few pieces, small pieces, and they cast the maquette for this particular piece. When the bronze comes out, often there are jagged edges left from the mould, and I think that the jagged edges on the head of the mother of this particular maquette, when it was cast, he decided to leave them in a more extreme form. Normally you might file something like that off, but I think that he felt that that happenstance, that circumstance, added to the meaning of the piece.”

Other casts of this work are featured in the permanent collections of the Hirschhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., and in the Tate Gallery, London.