Lot 2
  • 2

Henry Moore, O.M., C.H.

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
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  • Henry Moore, O.M., C.H.
  • Seated Woman: One Arm 
  • signed and numbered 6/9
  • bronze
  • length: 18cm.; 7in.
  • Conceived in 1956 and cast in 1964, the present work is number 6 from the edition of 9.


Redfern Gallery, London, where acquired by Lord & Lady Attenborough, 9th January 1970


Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings 1955-64, Vol.3, Lund Humphries, London, 1965, cat. no.410, illustrated p.23 (another cast);
Henry Moore & Ian Barker, Henry Moore, Sculptures, Drawings, Graphics, 1921-1981, Madrid, 1981, illustrated p.130 (another cast);
John Hedgecoe, A Monumental Vision, The Sculpture of Henry Moore, London, 1998, no.378, illustrated p.221 (another cast).


The sculpture appears sound. There is some minor rubbing to the edges of the bronze in places, most apparent to the knees and rear thigh of the figure. There is some very light surface dirt in places. Subject to the above, the work appears to be in very good overall condition.The sculpture is affixed to a polished wooden base with two screws.Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.
"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

The theme of the reclining figure held Moore’s attention from the late 1920s onwards, developed through a series of sketches and both small and large scale sculptures, culminating in such works as Recumbent Figure, 1938 (Tate, London) and subsequently becoming recognised as a ‘signature theme’ within his work (Ian Dejardin et.al., Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Scala Publishers Ltd, London, 2004, p.67).  Lord Clark, whose definitive essays on Michelangelo and the Italian Renaissance have become legendary in the field of art history, recognized Moore as the great visionary of European sculpture, writing: ‘the popular conception of Moore as the master of the reclining figure is correct. His vertical motifs, the internal/external forms and agonized columns, marvellous as they are, have been episodes. The reclining figure had reappeared at every phase of his work, and in the last few years has been the basis of his greatest sculpture’ (Kenneth Clark, quoted in F. S. Wight (ed.), Henry Moore: The Reclining Figure (exh. cat.), The Columbus Museum, 1984, p.4).

Moore's seated and reclining figures are among his most celebrated and spatially sophisticated works: the human figure provided for him a motif that he continually reworked, repositioning, dividing and in some cases abstracting the body so that only its elemental nature remained intact. In this focus on the figure, he took inspiration in part from Cézanne’s Bathers, at one point owning a small sketch by the artist, and the work served as a stimulus to explore the figure and all its poses. Moore was later to reference the work more closely in The Bathers (after Cézanne) (1978), which drew directly from the positioning of the figures. As Moore commented, 'Cézanne’s bathers compositions were a subject that freed him to try out all sorts of things that he didn’t quite know. With me, I think the reclining figure gave me a chance, a kind of subject matter, to create new forms within it' (Moore, quoted in Dorothy Kosinski (ed.), Henry Moore: Sculpting the Twentieth Century, Yale University Press, London, 2001, p.59). 

The present work is a wonderful example of Moore’s ability to create endlessly original figural forms. Moore takes the figure and manages to strip it of the particular and superfluous, capturing the essence of the figure, lending Seated Woman: One Arm a sense of universality and timelessness. Moore 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’ (the Artist, quoted in F. S. Wight, op. cit, p.131). After experimenting with a variety of modelling and casting techniques, including modelling in materials such as clay, wax and plasticine, and casting many sculptures himself in lead and bronze, Moore began to move in the mid-1950s, when this work was conceived, to model all works intended to be cast in bronze in plaster. The present work has a tactility which comes from both the modelling process – the Artist’s hand is evident in the undulating forms of the figure’s legs particularly – but also from the fluidity of the bronze itself, a material which, in Moore’s sculptures especially, seeks to be touched. In the present work we thus see Moore’s unparalleled ability to capture the figure in repose: the delicate forms of the work and its smooth, sweeping lines are balanced by a firmness in both the modelling and the bronze medium, all contained within a pose which combines a careful balance of weight and tension.