Lot 16
  • 16

Henry Moore

Estimate
2,500,000 - 3,500,000 USD
Sold
2,658,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Henry Moore
  • Family Group
  • Inscribed with the signature Moore
  • Bronze

Provenance

Paul Heim, Paris

Private Collection

Sale: Christie's, New York, April 30, 1996, lot 51

Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne, Passions privées, 1995-96

Literature

Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, p. 142, terracotta version illustrated, pl. 121

John Hedgecoe & Henry Moore, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, p. 162, terracotta version illustrated

Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, no. 345, terracotta version illustrated

J. Iglesias del Marquet, Henry Moore: Y El Inquietante Infinito, Barcelona, 1979, p. 133, terracotta version illustrated in color

David Mitchinson, Henry Moore Sculpture, London, 1981, p. 95, no. 178, terracotta version illustrated in color

David Sylvester, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture 1921-48, London, 1988, vol. I, p. 16, no. 265, another cast illustrated, p. 150

Catalogue Note

One of the key subjects of Henry Moore's art, the 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).


“This Family Group is rather far removed from the others in its formal aspects.  The
man’s chest is an open hollow…The woman’s right breast is negatively modeled, the left positively; the legs are as rigid as the strong boards of a church pew.  The boy standing between his father’s knees is statuesquely simplified, the child sitting on his mother’s lap is reaching with his left hand for her open breast…The expression of the group is archaic, mute: the human relationship between the four beings is expressed only through the convergent attitude of the figures…The woman’s hollow is fruitfulness, the man’s is spirit.”(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.


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.

The present sculpture, which was probably cast at the Fiorini Foundry in London, is believed to be one of four bronzes made from an original terra cotta.   Other casts of this work belong to the Norton Museum of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

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