Catalogue entry

Henry Moore 1898-1986

T03762 Mask 1929

Cast concrete 200 x 180 x 130 (7 7/8 x 7 7/8 x 5 1/8)
Not inscribed
Presented by H. Bergen to the Victoria and Albert Museum 1949 (Circ.11-1950); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1983
Prov: ... ; H. Bergen by December 1949
Exh: Sculpture and Drawings by Henry Moore, Leicester Galleries, April 1931 (24); travelling exhibitions of the Department of Circulation, Victoria and Albert Museum
Repr: Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings, 1944, pl.61a

An annotated catalogue of Moore's Leicester Galleries exhibition in April 1931, which is in the archives of the Henry Moore Foundation, has the number of 61a written by the side of number 24. The plate number of 61a was converted to LH63 in the fourth and revised edition of Volume One of the Lund Humphries catalogue of all Moore's sculpture, which came out in 1957. The Moore Foundation have not yet formally identified the hand responsible for the annotations; they know that it predates 1956, the year in which Moore's long-serving secretary, Betty Tinsley, took up her appointment, and believe it to be David Sylvester's hand. The annotations it provides in this and other exhibition catalogues have been accepted by the Foundation as accurate source material, see also the entry for T03761. This means that T03762, which was known as ‘Head, 1928' when it belonged to the Victoria and Albert Museum, now has a more accurate title and a different date. The entry for number 24 in the April 1931 exhibition actually read ‘Mask (Concrete) no.3 1929'. The ‘no.3' part of the catalogue entry can be explained by the fact that by 1931 Moore had made four masks in cast concrete; they are T03762, LH41 (originally 61b), LH62 (originally 61f) and LH64 (originally 61e), and T03762 must have been the third to have been executed. Eight masks are listed for the years 1928-9 in Volume One of the Lund Humphries catalogue, four cast in concrete, listed above, and four carved in stone. Alan G. Wilkinson states in Henry Moore Remembered : The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, 1987, that: ‘Moore's interest in this subject in the late 1920s may well have been stimulated by a book he acquired in 1928, L'Art précolombien by Adolphe Basler and Ernest Brummer (Paris 1928), which includes numerous illustrations of masks. As well as the eight masks Moore executed in 1928-29, the heads in several carvings of the period, for example the Leeds and Ottowa reclining figures, and in some of the life drawings of 1929-30 (Wilkinson 1977, nos 45 and 48) have mask-like features' (p.68). Of the four cast concrete masks, T03762 is the most tender in mood, and displays the least distortion of the facial features. It is a unique cast and was most probably cast into concrete from a clay original. This assumption arises from the forms of the eye sockets which look as though they were formed by pressing the thumb into soft clay. It would be difficult to produce this sort of complete yet spontaneous form by scraping it out in a plaster original.

In the first volume of Moore's sculpture, published in 1944, T03762 is cited as belonging to a private collection. A private collector, Mr. H. Bergen, who lived at 66 Sutton Court, London W4, gave it to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1949. He also gave a Moore drawing ‘Reclining Nude 1930' to the Prints and Drawings department of the same museum. Due to the temporary loss of the Bergen file in the Victoria and Albert Museum, no further details on the donor or his gifts are at present available. The Henry Moore Foundation have no information about Mr. H. Bergen because their purchase records do not go back as far as the 1940s.

When T03762 was transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1983, its acquisition inscription from that institution, ‘CIRC. 11-1950', which was written in white ink on the right side of the mask, was noted and then erased.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.540-1