Lot 40
  • 40

Henry Moore

4,000,000 - 6,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Henry Moore
  • Falling Warrior
  • Bronze


Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the artist circa 1957-59 and sold: Christie’s, New York, May 6, 2009, lot 31)

Acquired at the above sale


Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, detail of another cast illustrated pl. 168

Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of His Life and Work, London, 1965, another cast illustrated in color pl. 192

Ionel Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris, 1968, no. 405, another cast illustrated pl. 68

John Hedgecoe & Henry Moore, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, another cast illustrated pp. 276-79, 284-85 & 381

Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, another cast illustrated pls. 538-40

Giulio Carlo Argan, Henry Moore, New York, 1971, another cast illustrated pls. 135-36

Gualtieri di San Lazarro, ed., XXe siècle. Special edition: Homage to Henry Moore, 1972, another cast illustrated p. 85

John Russell, Henry Moore, London, 1973, another cast illustrated p. 161

David Finn, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, London, 1977, other casts illustrated pp. 120-24 & 272-75

Henry Moore, Geoffrey Shakerley & Stephen Spender, Henry Moore: Sculptures in Landscape, London, 1978, illustrated in color pls. 17-18

David Mitchinson, ed., Henry Moore: Sculpture with Comments by the Artist, London, 1981, nos. 278 & 279, another cast illustrated pp. 138-39

William S. Lieberman, Henry Moore, 60 Years of his Art, London & New York, 1983, another cast illustrated p. 84

Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings, London, 1986, vol. 3, no. 405, another cast illustrated pls. 28-31

John Hedgecoe & Henry Moore, Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, Toronto, 1986, another cast illustrated pp. 88-89

Gérard-Georges Lemaire, Moore, Paris, 2003, no. 57, another cast illustrated in color n.p.

John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore: A Monumental Vision, Cologne, 2005, no. 372, another cast illustrated pp. 130-31 & p. 221

Catalogue Note

Henry Moore’s extraordinary and moving Falling Warrior was originally conceived a few years after his first trip to Greece in 1951. Moore's idea for the present work clearly had its origin in classic Greek sculpture, yet it possesses an unmistakable sense of modernity. In 1961, in conversation with John Russell, Moore recalled this journey which was taken to coincide with his debut exhibition in Greece at the Zappeion Gallery in Athens: “My first visit to Greece came late in life - it was 1951, when I was fifty-three - and I thought before going that I knew about Greek art, because I'd been brought up on it, and that I might even be disappointed. But not at all, of course. I'd say that four or five of my top ten or twelve visual experiences came in Greece. For example, Mycenae had a tremendous impact. I felt that I understood Greek tragedy and - well, the whole idea of Greece - much, much more completely than ever before... And the Greek landscape was another revelation for me - that stark, stony quality, with the feeling that the sea may be round the next corner. I can understand why they were sculptors - the stone just had to be used, it was the one thing they had to hand" (quoted in A. Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Berkeley, 2002, p. 69).

Moore had long been an outspoken critic of what he saw as the long-standing pervasive influence of the Classical period on sculpture. In his attempts to circumvent the Classical idiom he frequently sought inspiration from non-Western sources such as African and Oceanic sculpture. However his experience of Greece in 1951 - seeing ancient sculpture and monuments in their original settings - caused him to readdress this prejudice and his own work began to betray his new-found acceptance of certain Classical elements. Most notably the draped figures of 1952 and 1953 clearly reference the antique. Conceptually, this damascene conversion led Moore to introduce male figure into his almost entirely female figure based oeuvre. The first of these was Warrior with Shield of 1953-54. As Moore explained: “Except for a short period when I did coal-mining drawings as a war artist, nearly all my figure sculpture and drawings, since being a student, has been of the female, except for the Family Groups, but there the man was part of the group. [Warrior with Shield] is the first single and separate male figure that I have done in sculpture and carrying it out in its final large scale was almost like the discovery of a new subject matter; the bony, edgy, tense forms were a great excitement to me” (J. Russell, Op. cit., p. 159).

Moore wrote in a letter dated January 15, 1955: “The idea for The Warrior came to me at the end of 1952 or very early in 1953. It was evolved from a pebble I found on the seashore in the summer of 1952, and which reminded me of the stump of a leg, amputated at the hip... First I added the body, leg and one arm and it became a wounded warrior, but at first the figure was reclining. A day or two later I added a shield and altered its position into a seated figure and so it changed from an inactive pose into a figure which, though wounded, is still defiant. The figure may be emotionally connected with one's feelings and thoughts about England during the crucial and early part of the last war. The position of the shield and its angle give protection from above” (quoted in A. Wilkinson, ed., Op. cit., pp. 283-84).

John Russell noted that “these Greekish figures are among [Moore's] pieces in which his loyalty is given over entirely to bronze... to the quintessence of the material’ (J. Russell, Op. cit., p. 159). This dedication to the material was of especial importance to the genesis of the present work which, as the artist explained, required the structural strength along with the malleability only possessed by bronze: “In the Falling Warrior sculpture I wanted a figure that was still alive. The pose in the first maquette [A. Bowness, ed., Op. cit., no. 404] was that of a completely dead figure and so I altered it to make the action that of a figure in the act of falling, and the shield became a support for the warrior, emphasizing the dramatic moment that precedes death” (quoted in D. Mitchinson, ed., Op. cit., p. 138).

For some, the significance of Falling Warrior - even as one of the outstanding artistic accomplishments of Moore’s career - remains in its deeply moving qualities in light of its execution soon after the end of the Second World War. However, as Will Grohmann has written, the work also possesses a more universal appeal: “Falling Warrior is so apt and rich in its details that in contemplating it, the observer's admiration for the sculptural achievement diverts his attention from the catastrophe. He remains caught up in the trance created by the combination of plastic and psychic values, by the discontinuity of the intersections, the rhythm imparted to movements and breaks in movement. This is how the chroniclers of the Trojan War saw heroes. The improbability and brutality of Moore's figure is beyond all topicality; the only contemporary element is the sculptor's language that competes with the language of the poem. Although there is nothing epic in the Falling Warrior, it contains the essence of the Homeric tale. Legend for legend, art for art, the arc spanning time is lost in the infinite, doing away in the presence of this figure the distinction between ancient and modern times, between poetry and sculpture” (W. Grohmann, Op. cit., p. 218).

Of the other ten examples of Falling Warrior that Moore had cast at the Fiorini foundry in London, seven are currently in institutional collections, including Tate, London; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Art Institute of Chicago; Clare College, Cambridge; The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich; Huddersfield Art Gallery, Kirklees Metropolitan Council and the municipality of Zollikon, Zurich.