Henry Moore OM, CH

Three Motives Against Wall No.2

1959, cast 1962

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 460 x 1083 x 381 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the artist 1978
Reference
T02281

Catalogue entry

Entry

The bronze sculpture Three Motives Against Wall No.2 comprises three individual amorphous forms positioned in a row on a stage-like platform set against an upright rectangular wall. This wall is imprinted with an arrangement of square and rectangular depressions and is joined to the horizontal platform to create a right-angled unit. The assembled bronze is mounted onto a copper-clad wooden base. The three forms, or motives, sit directly on the bronze base, to which they are attached with a bolt screwed from the underside. This particular subject and composition was first devised by Moore in 1958 when he created Three Motives Against a Wall No.1 (Tate T03763), although there are significant differences between this earlier sculpture and the present work.
Fig.1
Detail of left motive in Three Motives Against Wall No.2 1958, cast 1962
Tate T02281
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Fig.2
Detail of middle motive in Three Motives Against Wall No.2 1959, cast 1962
Tate T02281
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Fig.3
Detail of right motive in Three Motives Against Wall No.2 1958, cast 1962
Tate T02281
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
The motive on the left-hand side is a single entity but comprises two globular, curvaceous forms that appear to be balanced one on top of the other (fig.1). Overall the motive is roughly oval-shaped, although from the front it appears as though two u-shaped forms have been slotted together leaving a small recess in the centre. The top edge of the motive dips slightly in the middle creating a concave curve, while the front is rounded and projects forward. By contrast, the middle motive consists of a thin, tubular shaft that rises vertically upwards from the base and is punctuated by two short protrusions, or stumps, on alternate sides (fig.2). The top of the shaft curves forwards at a right angle and culminates in a long, bulbous protrusion that makes the motive seem top heavy.

Origins and interpretation

The Henry Moore Gift

Alice Correia
March 2013

Notes

1
See Henry Moore at Perry Green, London 2011, p.17.
2
David Sylvester, Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1968, p.54.
3
Ibid., p.55.
4
Henry Moore cited in Donald Hall, ‘Henry Moore: An Interview by Donald Hall’, Horizon, November 1960, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot 2002, p.215.
5
Sylvester 1968, p.55.
6
Alan G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto 1987, p.184.
7
Ibid.
8
Alan Wilkinson, ‘Three Motives against Wall No.2’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.258.
9
Henry Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, p.18, transcript of Third Programme, broadcast BBC Radio, 14 July 1963, Tate Archive TGA 200816. (An edited version of this interview was published in the Listener, 29 August 1963, pp.305–7.)
10
Wilkinson 1987, p.185.
11
Art Bronze Foundry, London, casting bill to Henry Moore, 7 June 1962, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
12
Moore cited in Hall, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.234.
13
Wilkinson 1987, p.184.
14
[Richard Calvocoressi], ‘T.2281, Three Motives Against Wall No.2’, The Tate Gallery 1978–80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981, p.126.
15
See, for example, Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of his Life and Work, London 1965, pp.212–19, and Julian Stallabrass, ‘Three Motives against Wall No.1’, in Mitchinson 2006, pp.256–8.
16
Anita Feldman Bennet, ‘Figures in Architectural Settings – the UNESCO Experiments’ in David Mitchinson (ed.), Henry Moore and the Challenge of Architecture, Much Hadham 2005, p.22.
17
Henry Moore cited in David Sylvester (ed.), Sculpture and Drawings by Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1951, p.4.
18
Herbert Read, ‘Introduction’, in Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 3: Sculpture and Drawings 1955–64, 1965, revised edn, London 1986, p.6.
19
Wilkinson 1987, p.177.
20
Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore, London 1959, p.76.
21
Read in Bowness 1986, p.7.
22
John Russell, Henry Moore, London 1973, p.194.
23
Wilkinson, ‘Three Motives Against Wall No.2’, in Mitchinson 2006, p.258.
24
See ‘Note on the Henry Moore Gift’, 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
25
These figures are based on those listed in a memo in the records for the exhibition. See Tate Public Records TG 92/344/2.
26
Norman Reid, letter to Mary Danowski, 31 August 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.

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