- Henry Moore
- Working Model for Reclining Figure: Bone Skirt
- Inscribed Moore and numbered 9/9
- Length: 27 in.
- 68.6 cm
John Kluge, New York & Charlottesville (sold: Christie's, New York, May 8, 1991, lot 54)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
In this variant of the reclining figure, draped with what Moore has titled a 'bone skirt,' the woman appears anchored to the ground by the rigid slope of her legs. It is this ambiguity between the soft folds of the fabric, mostly accentuated around the legs, and the strong, solid forms of the figure's body, that lends the work much of its vitality. It was whilst working on his Shelter Drawings during the Second World War that Moore became increasingly absorbed in the manner in which drapery could denote sculptural volume. The three-dimensional effect achieved by the folds in a figure's garment is in part inspired by the sculpture and reliefs from Classical antiquity, particularly some of the Parthenon figures.
David Sylvester considered Moore's use of drapery as a method of further integrating his figures into the landscape. The artist used "the folds to create a variant of the metaphor of the figure as a landscape... to connect the contrasts of sizes of folds, small, fine and delicate, in other places big and heavy, with the form of mountains, which are the crinkled skin of the earth" (ibid., p. 109). With its permanence and solidity, the female figure in the present sculpture appears close to the earth, and the mountainous force described by Sylvester can be seen in the triangular shape of her legs. With her backwards gaze and her monumental, dignified head looking into infinity, the figure acquires a timeless quality, symbolizing the eternal expanse of the universe and man's presence in it.
The present work was cast in an edition of 9 plus one artist's proof.