- Henry Moore
- Small Maquette no. 1 for Reclining Figure
- Inscribed Moore and numbered 9/9
- Length: 9 1/2 in.
- 24.1 cm
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above on October 19, 1965)
Thence by descent
Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore Complete Sculpture, 1949-1954, vol. 2, London, 1986, no. 292a, illustration of another cast p. 33
Moore's fascination with the reclining figure may be traced back to his arrival in London, in 1921, when he was first exposed to Pre-Columbian treasures at the British Museum. Moore wrote in 1941: "Of works from the Americas, Mexican art was exceptionally well represented in the [British] Museum. Mexican sculpture...seemed to me true and right. Its 'stoniness' by which I mean its truth and material, its tremendous power without loss of sensitiveness, its astonishing variety and fertility of form-invention and its approach to a full three-dimensional conception of form, make it unsurpassed in my opinion by any other period of stone sculpture" (quoted in Manfred Fath, Henry Moore: From the Inside Out, New York, 2009, p. 19).
This subject reoccurred and evolved throughout the Moore’s career, ranging from organic forms to near-abstract, geometric ones. The artist himself described the progression of his sculpture as "becoming less representational, less outwardly a visual copy, and so what some people would call more abstract; but only because in this way I can present the human psychological context of my work with the greatest clearness and intensity" (quoted in Henry Moore: The Reclining Figure (exhibition catalogue), The Columbus Museum, 1984, p. 131).
In 1948, Moore was awarded the international prize for sculpture at the Venice Biennale, cementing his reputation as the most important sculptor of his time.