Catalogue entry

N06004 FAMILY GROUP 1949

Inscr. ‘Henry Moore’ on base at r. and ‘Alexis Rudier Fondeur, Paris’ on base at back.
Bronze, 60×45 1/2×30 3/4 (152·5×115·5×78).
Purchased from the artist through the Buchholz Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid), 1950.
Exh: Arts Council, Tate Gallery, 1951 (169: detail repr. pl.14, the original plaster repr. pl.15).
Lit: Kenneth Clark, ‘Henry Moore's Metal Sculpture’ in Magazine of Art, XLIV, 1951, pp.172–3, New York cast repr.; Digby, 1955, p.84; Patrick Heron, The Changing Forms of Art, 1955, p.215; Eduard Trier, Moderne Plastik, Frankfurt, 1955, p.64, detail of the first cast repr. pl.70; Neumann, 1959, pp.86–9, plaster repr. pl.54; Grohmann, 1960, p.142, Stevenage cast repr. pls.124–5.
Repr: John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1958, p.19, and 1962, p.223. Other casts: Read, 11, 1955, Nos.1, 1a–e.

Commissioned by F.R.S. Yorke for the Barclay Secondary School at Stevenage New Town, Hertfordshire, and completed in 1949 (the first cast is reproduced in situ in Read, II, 1955, pls. 1b and 1c). Two other casts were originally intended, those now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Tate Gallery. Subsequently a fourth cast was made for Nelson D. Rockefeller. The composition is based on one of the maquettes for the ‘Family Group’ projected for the Impington Village College, 1944–5 (repr. Grohmann, op. cit., pl.123; see N05605).

The artist regrets that the setting of the cast at Stevenage (repr. Read, II, 1955, pls. 1b and 1c), in a limited space in front of a curved baffle-wall, restricts the view of the back of the work, which is designed in accordance with his insistence on the fully three-dimensional quality of sculpture; ideally, he advocates placing the work on a turntable so that its direction can be changed at regular intervals. The Tate Gallery's cast is now exhibited in the large Sculpture Hall, which the artist prefers to its original position on a lawn in front of the Gallery, despite his usual liking for an open-air setting for his work. (Talk recorded for British Council, 1955.)

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II