Lot 105
  • 105

Henry Moore

200,000 - 300,000 USD
281,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Henry Moore
  • Stringed Figure
  • Bronze and elastic string


M. Knoedler & Co., New York (acquired from the artist)
Acquired from the above in 1962


New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Henry Moore, 1962, no. 2, illustrated in the catalogue


Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1981-86, vol. 6, London, 1999, no. 186b, illustrations of another cast p. 29 & pls. 19-20

Catalogue Note

The genesis of Henry Moore’s magnificent series of Stringed Figures, all conceived between 1937 and 1940, is often considered to have been closely bound with Surrealist concerns and aesthetics, particularly with regard to the theme of metamorphosis, although the geometrical purity of his sculpture of this period also demonstrates an undeniable affinity with the contemporaneous work of Naum Gabo and Barbara Hepworth. The artist himself credits his espousal of stringed elements within his sculpture at this time to his discovery of mathematical models at the Science Museum in South Kensington. In an interview in 1962, he declared: “I was fascinated by the mathematical models I saw there, which had been made to illustrate the difference of the form that is halfway between a square and a circle. One model had a square at one end with twenty holes along each side, making eighty holes in all. Through these holes strings were threaded and led to a circle with the same number of holes at the other end... It wasn't the scientific study of these models but the ability to look through the strings as with a bird cage and to see one form within another which excited me” (quoted in John Hedgecoe, ed., Henry Moore, London, 1968, p. 105).

The three curvilinear flights of string that beautifully articulate the negative space created by the cradled bronze form in the present work are the perfect illustration of David Sylvester’s observation that: “The string creates a transparent barrier between the space enclosed within the concaves of the sculpture and the space around the sculpture. Movement of the eye along the length of the strings sharpens awareness of the space the sculpture encloses, especially when one set of strings can be seen through another, so that a counterpoint of movement is created which quickens the vibration of the space” (David Sylvester, Henry Moore(exhibition catalogue), London, Arts Council, Tate Gallery, 1968, p. 105).

Fig. 1 Alternate view of the present lot.