- Henry Moore
THREE PIECE RECLINING FIGURE No.2: BRIDGE PROP
- inscribed Moore and numbered 3/6
Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York
Private Collection (acquired from the above on 3rd February 1966. Sold: Sotheby's, New York, 10th May 1988, lot 40)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Herbert Read, Henry Moore, London, 1965, colour illustration of another cast p. 232 and on the cover
Ionel Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, no. 499, illustrations of another cast figs. 111 & 112
John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, illustration of another cast p. 404
John Russell, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, no. 195, illustration of another cast pp. 188-189
Robert Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1968, New York, 1969, illustrations of another cast figs. 651 & 652
David Finn & Donald Hall, As the Eye Moves - A Sculpture by Henry Moore, New York, 1970
Giulio Carlo Argan, Henry Moore, New York, 1971, illustration of another cast fig. 178
David Finn, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Environment, New York, 1976, illustrations of another cast pp. 404-409
Alan G. Wilkinson, The Moore Collection in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario, 1979, no. 162, illustrations of the plaster model p. 181
David Mitchinson (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture, New York, 1981, colour illustration of another cast fig. 353; illustration of another cast fig. 354
Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings, 1955-64, London, 1986, vol. III, no. 513, illustrations of another cast pls. 156-159
'The reclining figure gives the most freedom... A reclining figure can recline on any surface. It is free and stable at the same time. It fits in with my belief that sculpture should be permanent, should last for eternity. Also it has repose.' Henry Moore
Three Piece Reclining Figure no. 2: Bridge Prop brilliantly exemplifies the dominant theme in Moore's art. The reclining figure was a constant source of inspiration for the artist, one which proved to be resilient precisely because its universal appeal allowed for reinterpretation and re-appropriation.
This model is one of Moore's most technically sophisticated and complex treatments of the theme. Moore himself explained the development of the divided forms as follows: 'I did the first one in two pieces almost without intending to. But after I had done it, then the sectioned one became a conscious idea... Once these two parts became separated you don't expect it to be a naturalistic figure; therefore, you can justifiably make it like a landscape or a rock. If it is a single figure, you can guess what it's going to be like. If it is in two pieces, there's a bigger surprise, you have more unexpected views; therefore the special advantage over painting - of having the possibility of many different views - is more fully explored... Sculpture is like a journey. You have a differnet view as you return. The three-dimensional view is full of surprises in a way that a two dimensional world could never be' (quoted in 'Henry Moore's World', in Atlantic Monthly, January 1962).
Moore wrote about the reasons for the title of the present work: 'Its name, like so many of the titles I give to my sculptures is descriptive – often I don't give any name to a sculpture until it is half done, and then because I have to refer it to Irina, or some of my boys, a name pops up which distinguished it from other things I am doing at the time, or that I have done previously. The words Bridge and Prop came about because if one looks at the sculpture, with its base at eye level, then it makes a series of arches, or bridges (it reminded me while doing it of the views underneath Waterloo Bridge from the embankment, which I often pass when taking a taxi from Liverpool Street Station to the West End). Prop applies to the arm that props up the head and shoulder part against the middle piece – and the two words just got joined together, and became Bridge-Prop' (quoted in David Finn & Donald Hall, op. cit. p. 16).
The importance of Three Piece Reclining Figure no. 2: Bridge Prop is documented in David Finn's As the Eye Moves – A Sculpture by Henry Moore, an entire book devoted to the model. It is a photographic document that sequentially explored the infinite perspectives the sculpture generates. The other casts can be found in important public collections across the world such as the Tate Gallery, London; the City Art Gallery, Leeds; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. and at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Moore's original working plaster model is in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Fig. 1, The plaster model for the present work in Henry Moore's studio
Fig. 2, Another view of the present work