Henry Moore OM, CH

Draped Seated Woman

1957–8, cast c.1958–63

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 2280 x 2300 x 1040 mm, 541 kg
Collection
Lent from a private collection 1989
On long term loan
Reference
L01444

Display caption

Two casts of this monumental female figure have been sited in public urban spaces: one in Wuppertal in Germany, another in the East End of London. London County Council’s policy of placing such work in deprived areas was part of a post-war revival of civil aspirations and social reform.

Gallery label, June 2003

Catalogue entry

Entry

Draped Seated Woman 1957–8 is a larger than life-size bronze sculpture positioned on a stepped wooden plinth. The figure is proportioned irregularly, with a small head, extremely bulky torso and legs that span almost half the sculpture, while features such as the face, hands and feet have been rendered schematically. The woman’s body faces forward while her legs extend to her right and her head looks over her left shoulder (fig.1). Much of her weight is placed on her left hip and buttock – with the result that her right hip and leg are slightly higher – and on her left hand, which rests slightly behind her body on the top step. Moore has composed the body on a gentle diagonal, which moves from the feet up and across her body to her left shoulder.
The woman wears a sleeveless, knee length dress, which appears to cling to her body in folds, the ridges of which curve over her legs and sag between her thighs. Two small breasts are discernable on her chest. When seen from the side it is evident that she is leaning slightly forward. In comparison to her bulky body and heavy legs, her arms appear relatively thin. Her bent knees, shins and feet are uncovered and extend out to the side, with the left leg tucking under the right.
The figure has a distinctive block-like head, the flat edges of which denote the forehead and the two sides of the face (fig.2). On either side of the central angle are circular holes indicating the eyes, while nostrils and a small mouth make up the other features of the face. Hair has been rendered by overlapping lumpy masses on the rear of the head that project sideways to form a smoothed, rectangular protrusion on the right side of her head.

Origins and facture

Form and content

Display and critical reception

Alice Correia
November 2013

Notes

1
Henry Moore cited in William S. Lieberman, Henry Moore: 60 Years of his Art, exhibition catalogue, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1983, p.13.
2
Henry Moore cited in David Finn, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, New York 1977, p.194.
3
Julie Summers, ‘Fragment of Maquette for King and Queen’, in Claude Allemand-Cosneau, Manfred Fath and David Mitchinson (eds.), Henry Moore From the Inside Out: Plasters, Carvings and Drawings, Munich 1996, p.126.
4
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.300.
5
Henry Moore, ‘Sculpture in the Open Air: A Talk by Henry Moore on his Sculpture and its Placing in Open-Air Sites’, 1955, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, London 2002, p.280.
6
Henry Moore, letter to Paul Elek, 1 December 1959, The Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
7
Henry Moore, letter to Alan Wurtzburger, 8 April 1958, E. Kirkbride Miller Art Research Library, Baltimore Museum of Art, Alan and Janet Wurtzburger Papers, Box 1, Folder 36, WP1.36.10, http://cdm16075.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15264coll9/id/18, accessed 17 December 2013.
8
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.291.
9
See Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London 1960, p.229.
10
Roger Berthoud cited by Julie Summers, ‘Working Model for Draped Seated Woman: Figure on Steps 1956’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.253.
11
Henry Moore quoted in Sculpture in the Open Air, exhibition catalogue, Holland Park, London 1954, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.280.
12
Ionel Jianou, Henry Moore, Paris 1968, p.42.
13
Henry Moore cited in James Johnson Sweeney, Henry Moore, New York 1946, reprinted in Philip James (ed.), Henry Moore on Sculpture, London 1966, p.42.
14
Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore, London 1959, p.121.
15
Ibid., pp.95–7.
16
Henry Moore cited in Donald Hall, ‘Henry Moore: An Interview by Donald Hall’, Horizon, November 1960, reprinted in James 1966, pp.47–8.
17
Henry Moore, Henry Moore at the British Museum, London 1981, p.62.
18
Roger Cardinal, ‘Henry Moore: In the Light of Greece’, in Henry Moore: In the Light of Greece, exhibition catalogue, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros 2000, p.37.
19
John Russell, Henry Moore, 1968, 2nd edn, London 1973, p.157.
20
Ibid., p.158.
21
Grohmann 1960, p.229.
22
Ibid.
23
Ibid.
24
Kenneth Clark cited in Peter Fuller, Henry Moore: An Interpretation, London 1993, p.44.
25
John Spurling, ‘Father Earth’, New Statesman, 7 July 1978, p.31.
26
Henry Moore cited in Hew Wheldon (ed.), Monitor: An Anthology, London 1962, pp.21–2, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.147.
27
Alan Wilkinson, The Drawings of Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1977, p.52.
28
Neumann 1959, p.31.
29
Ibid., pp.31–2.
30
Ibid., p.32.
31
[David Thompson], ‘Mr Henry Moore’s Exhilarating Exhibition’, Times, 28 November 1960, p.6.
32
Keith Sutton, ‘Henry Moore at Whitechapel’, Listener, 8 December 1960, p.1070.
33
Ibid.
34
Ibid.
35
Ibid.
36
Lawrence Alloway, ‘London Letter’, Art International, vol.4, no.10, December 1960, p.50.
37
Ibid.
38
Anthony Caro, ‘The Master Sculptor’, Observer, 27 November 1960, p.21.
39
Clement Greenberg, The Collected Essays and Criticism. Volume 2: Arrogant Purpose, 1945–49, Chicago 1986, p.318.
40
Ibid., pp.126–7
41
Margaret Garlake, New Art / New World: British Art in Postwar Society, New Haven and London 1998, p.229.
42
Christopher Marshall, ‘Between Beauty and Power: Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman as an Emblem of the National Gallery of Victoria’s Modernity 1959–68’, Art Bulletin of Victoria, vol.46, 2006, p.41.

Read full Catalogue entry

Explore