- Henry Moore
- Reclining Figure: Circle
- signed Moore and numbered 3/9
Private Collection, California
Scott White Contemporary, San Diego
Acquired from the above by the present owner
The fulcrum of the work is a dynamically hollowed circular channel that shows the artist’s interest in the three-dimensional representation of organic form. This piercing is emphasised by the rhythmic arches created by the points of contact between the figure and the base. The artist developed this idea in the 1930s when carving stone figures. These sculptures frequently incorporated cavities or hollows which represented the contrast between form and void, therefore making the viewer aware of the space itself becoming part of the sculpture.
The subject of the reclining figure is probably the single most important image of Henry Moore’s œuvre. Initially inspired by Mexican sculpture, this theme recurs throughout the artist’s career, ranging from organic forms to near-abstract, geometric ones. Christa Lichtenstern wrote about Moore’s continuous treatment of this motif, which he called an ‘absolute obsession’: ‘The reclining figure […] formed a kind of vessel into which Moore poured his most important poetic, compositional, formal and spatial discoveries. The farthest-reaching developments in his art are thus reflected in such figures. In the early period, they demonstrated his belief in the doctrine of direct carving. Later, they embodied his espousal of the surrealist emotionalisation of figure and space. And finally, they became a focus for the analogies between figure and landscape […]. One further innovation explored in the context of this basic theme was the artist’s discovery of rhythm as a constituent force in the generation of form’ (C. Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work – Theory – Impact, London, 2008, p. 95).