Lot 12
  • 12

Henry Moore

1,800,000 - 2,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Henry Moore
  • Figure on Steps:  Working Model for Draped Seated Woman
  • Bronze
  • Length: 28 1/2 in.
  • 72.5 cm


Lee Ault, New Canaan, Connecticut

M. Knoedler & Co., New York

Acquired from the above in June 1961


Herbert Read, Henry Moore, Sculpture & Drawings, vol. 3, London, 1965, no. 427, illustration of another cast pl. 61

Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, 1955-1964, London, 1965, vol. 3, no. 427, illustration of another cast p. 34

Ionel Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, no. 399, edition catalogued p. 81

Robert Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, figs. 516 & 517, illustrations of another cast

Allen Bowness, Henry Moore Complete Sculpture 1955-64, London, 1985, vol. 3, no. 427, illustrations of other casts p. 34 & pl. 57

David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore, London, 1998, illustration in color of the plaster p. 253

Catalogue Note

The present bronze belongs to a series of seated figures that Moore created in conjunction with a commission from UNESCO headquarters in Paris.  Moore was at odds with the practice of completing a sculpture for an existing building as a simple enhancement to the architecture.  He believed that his sculpted figures were independent works of art that needed to be seen at all angles and not as an adornment positioned against a surface. Creating an architectural element for the sculpture itself ─ the stairs, in the case of the present work ─ was his solution to this problem. The steps not only place the figure in a predetermined setting, they also create an independent and private space in which the seated figure exists.  While the image of a woman seated on steps was not chosen for the final UNESCO work, it was developed into several sculptures in their own right, including the present work.


Discussing Working Model for Draped Seated Woman: Figure on Steps, Julie Summers wrote: "This particular work is significant in that it bridges the gap between the draped figures of two or three years earlier, which had resulted directly from Moore's first visit to Greece in 1951, and the later figures set against architectural backgrounds.  The use of steps gave him the possibility to explore placing a figure on an architectural feature without wholly obscuring the background. In the final monumental version of this sculpture the steps have been quite dramatically reduced to give the figure prominence" (Julie Summers in David Mitchinson ed., op. cit., pp. 253-254).  In the present version however, it is the combination of the rhythmic lines of the woman's dress and the cascading pattern of the steps that makes this a wonderfully dynamic work.

The present bronze was cast in an edition of 9, plus one artist's proof from the original plaster at the Fiorini Foundry in London.  Other casts of this work are in public collections including the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Milwaukee Art Center.