Lot 32
  • 32

Henry Moore

300,000 - 400,000 GBP
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  • Henry Moore
  • Two Women and Child
  • signed Moore (lower right)
  • gouache, watercolour wash, wax crayon, coloured crayon, pen and ink and pencil on paper
  • 48.4 by 62.3cm.
  • 19 1/8 by 24 1/2 in.
signed Moore (lower right)
gouache, watercolour, wax crayon, coloured crayon, and  pen and ink on paper
45.7 by 55.2cm.
Executed in 1948.


Leicester Galleries, London

Private Collection, Great Britain

Lefevre Gallery, London

Fischer Fine Art, London

Private Collection, South Africa

Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London

Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1978)

Thence by descent to the present owners


London, Lefevre Gallery, Small Bronzes and Drawings by Henry Moore, 1972, no. 54, illustrated in the catalogue


Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, illustrated pl. 378

Ann Garrould (ed.), Henry Moore: Complete Drawings, London, 2001, vol. 3, no. AG 48.29, illustrated p. 284; illustrated in colour pl. XXXII


Executed on cream laid paper, not laid down, hinged to the mount on the reverse of the top two corners. There are artist's pinholes in the lower left and right corners and the top right corner and two small areas of paper loss to the top left corner. There are small remnants of paper from a previous mount on the reverse of the top edge and some slight discolouration to the paper. Apart from a flattened crease running along the left edge and a very small tear to the middle of the top edge, neither of which are visible when mounted, this work is in good condition. Colours: Overall fairly accurate in the printed catalogue illustration, although slightly deeper in the original.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

‘From very early on I have had an obsession with the Mother and Child theme. It has been a universal theme from the beginning of time and some of the earliest sculptures we’ve found from the Neolithic Age are of a Mother and Child. I discovered when drawing, I could turn every little scribble, blot or smudge into a Mother and Child. (Later, I did the same with the Reclining Figure theme!) So that I was conditioned, as it were, to see it in everything. I suppose it could be explained as a 'Mother' complex’. Henry Moore

In September 1919, equipped with his de-mobilisation papers and an ex-serviceman’s financial grant, Moore started his training as an artist at the Leeds School of Art. Rigorous academic techniques were applied to all the students’ classes at Leeds, including life drawing and the study of antique casts. Moore flourished even amidst the staid atmosphere of this most traditional school, and was able to successfully apply for a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Art in London. However, perhaps due to this traditional artistic education, drawing remained a fundamentally important part of the artist’s work. Indeed, Moore stated: ‘In my opinion, long and intense study of the human figures is the necessary foundation for a sculptor’ (quoted in The Drawing of Henry Moore (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1977, p. 9).

Two Women and Child represents the highly important technical and stylistic developments which Moore developed in the 1940s. During the Second World War Moore became engaged in what is arguably his greatest and certainly his most publically recognised achievement as a draughtsman - the Shelter and Coal-Mine drawings of 1940 and 1942 - which were executed in the London Underground and the pits at Castleford in Yorkshire. The artist continued to improve these techniques in the latter half of the decade when he returned to his definitive subject – the Mother and Child. In works such as the magnificent Two Women and Child, Moore composed groups of figures either engaged in domestic activities or posed as family groups as both preparatory drawings for sculptures and as works in their own right. According to the catalogue raisonné, the intricately executed and stylised heads of the women may have been influenced by carved masks from Africa and the Marquesas Islands, often decorated with incisions, which Moore began collecting in the late 1940s. Two Women and Child exemplifies the richly hued, densely worked drawings that rendered the physicality of the figures so completely that they possess a sculptural quality all of their own.