Henry Moore, O.M., C.H.
- Henry Moore, O.M., C.H.
- Nine Helmet Heads
- signed and dated 50.; inscribed on the reverse
- pencil, chalk, wax crayon and watercolour on paper
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, where acquired by the family of the present owner, June 1960
As a consummate and innovative draughtsman, Moore believed that a sculptor’s drawings should, through the suggestion of background and evocation of atmosphere, be more than mere diagrammatic studies. Many of these drawings were preliminary to sculptures, ‘a means of generative ideas for sculptures, tapping oneself for the initial idea; and as a way of sorting out ideas and developing them’ (Henry Moore, ‘The Sculptor Speaks, The Listener, 18th August 1937, quoted in David Sylvester (ed.), Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1948, Lund Humphries, London, 1957, Vol. I, p.xxxv).
The scale alone of the three works offered in this sale precludes them from being considered as studies from the sketchbook, not to mention their state of completion and overall effect. As a group, the three works each represent an important motif of the artist’s work – the seated female figure (lot 2), who is the basis and foundation of his Mother and Child and Family Groups, the stylised heads (lot 1) which may have been influenced by the carved masks from Africa and the Marquesas Islands which Moore collected, and the standing figures (lot 3) which, after many years of careful deliberation, resulted in his series of Upright Internal / External Forms, the first of which was executed in wood in 1951. Kenneth Clark remarked on the particular effect of the standing figure drawings: ‘They achieve a remarkable reality, so that, when they walk about in pairs, we feel that they are conversing on the way to market. Moore seems to have created a credible alternative to the human race, as if millions of years ago, evolution had taken a different course. The strange fact is that, although these figures were invented in 1940, they did not appear in sculpture until 1951’ (‘Dramatis Personae’, in Kenneth Clark, Henry Moore Drawings, Thames and Hudson, London, 1974, p.114). Moore’s drawings reveal him to be a prolific and dedicated artist whose careful and intense studies of the human form were essential to the huge strides he made in creating impactful Modernist sculpture.