Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, 1964-1973, vol. 4, London, 1977, no. 453a, illustration of another cast p. 33 Henry Moore: Back to a Land (exhibition catalogue), Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2015, illustrations of another cast pp. 122-23 & 153
The theme of maternity was a central motif in Moore's art. Figures of mothers with their babies appear throughout his career in varied forms, and though many of his figures are dramatically abstracted, Moore consistently invested them with warmth and tenderness. Writing about the attraction of this subject matter for Moore, Gail Gelburd has stated: “The theme of the mother and child, not only refers to the paternal relationships but is about fertility, maternity, and growth—universal ideas. It evokes images of the egg, the womb, and the uncarved stone… The mother and child motif goes beyond the images to a primal motif based on the theme of life and birth, for Moore it means creativity. The art is reminiscent of some of the earliest primitive images due to its conceptual base. Moore’s work is an attempt to get at the essential nature and to shape it from within” (Mother and Child: The Art of Henry Moore (exhibition catalogue), Hofstra University Museum & traveling, Hempstead, New York, 1987-88, p. 39).
The present work expands Moore’s traditional representations of the mother and child motif in its arch-inspired shape. For Moore, such endeavors provided more of a conceptual challenge than a physical one: “The liking for holes came about from wanting to make space and three-dimensional form. For me the hole is not just a round hole. It is a penetration through from the front of the block to the back. This was for me a revelation, a great mental effort. It was having the idea to do it that was difficult, and not the physical effort” (quoted in ibid., p. 34). The form of Mother and Child - Arch is equally defined by its negative spaces as by its solid, rounded shapes, which recall both the female form and the caves and cliffs near Moore’s home in Hertfordshire. The artist writes, “The first hole made through a piece of stone is a revelation. The hole connects one side to the other, making it immediately more three dimensional… The mystery of the hole—the mysterious fascination of caves in hillsides and cliffs” (quoted in ibid., p. 34).
Variegated green and brown patina. There are some signs of verdigris and patina loss in the deepest crevices to the back of the figure. There is surface dust and accretions in the deeper crevices. The work is in overall very good condition. 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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.