Henry Moore, OM CH (1898-1986)

Born in Castleford, Yorkshire, he attended Leeds School of Art from 1919-21. In 1921 Moore won a Royal Exhibition Scholarship to study sculpture at the Royal College of Art. He taught at the Royal College from 1924-31 and at Chelsea School of Art from 1932-39. He was given his first one-man show in 1928 by the Warren Gallery and in the same year he gained his first public commission – to carve a relief in stone for a facade of the new Underground Building, London.

Moore was a member of the Seven and Five Society from 1931 and he was invited to join Unit One; a group whose members included Edward Burra, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Edward Wadsworth. In 1946 Moore was given his first overseas retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1948 he won the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale. He had retrospectives at the Tate, London, in both 1951 and 68. And he won first prize at the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil in 1953.

Moore was a trustee of the National Gallery from 1955-74 and in 1977 he formed the Henry Moore Foundation at Much Hadham in Hertfordshire.

Henry Moore, OM CH (1898-1986), Seated Mother and Child: Thin, 1980


Bronze with brown patina
H. 9½ in (24.2 cm)
Signed and numbered 4/9

Collections: Fisher Fine Art; Sotheby’s, 10 December 2008 (81); private collection, UK.

Literature: Alan Bowness (ed.) Henry Moore Complete Sculpture vol VI, 1988 p. 38 (804); John Hedgecoe A Monumental Vision: The Sculpture of Henry Moore, 1998 pp. 244-245 (680).

The birth of Moore’s first grandchild in 1977 provided additional stimulus for a subject which had fascinated him since the 1920s. His powers of invention remained undiminished in the last decade of his life and the bronzes from that period are extraordinarily fresh, the present work retaining the power and intimacy of his earlier treatments of the subject.
Moore’s particular empathy was to explore the sheltering and protective nature of motherhood - in this instance a bond reflected in the seamless connection of mother and child. Seen from the rear the mother’s broad back encloses the fragile child, while in profile the two figures are conjoined in a perfectly balanced elliptical form. The figures are reduced to anonymity, and as the title suggests, the depth is condensed to concentrate on the physical and spiritual union of the protagonists.

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