Catalogue entry

T02281 THREE MOTIVES AGAINST WALL NO.2 1959

Inscribed ‘Moore 10/10’ on side of base
Bronze, 18 1/8 × 42 5/8 × 15 (46 × 108.2 × 38.1)
Presented by the artist 1978
Exh: Henry Moore: an exhibition of sculpture and drawings, Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull, October–November 1963 (33); Henry Moore, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, January–February 1965 (21); Henry Moore, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, October–November 1967 and tour to Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) and St Johns (Newfoundland), ending up at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, June–September 1968 (8, repr.); Henry Moore Exhibition in Japan, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, August–October 1969 (44, repr.); Henry Moore Sculpture, Drawings, Graphics, Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, Lancs., November–December 1971 (6); The Henry Moore Gift, Tate Gallery, June–August 1978, repr. p.39
Lit: David Sylvester in catalogue of Henry Moore, Tate Gallery, 1968, p.55 (repr. pl.52); John Russell, Henry Moore, 1968, p.173 (repr. pl.167); Alan G. Wilkinson, The Moore Collection in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1979, pp.152, 159 (original plaster repr. pl.133)
Repr: Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture 1955–64, 1965, pl.70, 71

This work is no. 442 in the Lund Humphries catalogue of Moore's sculpture. There are ten casts, one of which is in the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington. The original plaster is in the Moore Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario.

Wilkinson, op. cit., traces Moore's placing of sculptural figures against a rectangular slotted wall, or in a cell-like room, to various drawings done in the 1930s, although the first sculpture to realise this theme was not executed until 1957 (L.H.424). Moore told the compiler (12 December 1980) that his interest in making relief sculpture, which had lain dormant since his work on the London Underground Building in the late Twenties, was reawakened when he was commissioned to design a large wall relief in brick for the façade of the Bouwcentrum in Rotterdam (L.H. 375), unveiled in December 1955. This project led to the idea of releasing the forms from their incorporation in the fabric of the wall so that they become free-standing, as in T.2281; the wall, with its mysterious slits, acts as a background of considerable emotive force.

As Wilkinson notes, the three shapes in T02281 were based on flint stones in the artist's studio. Each can be turned, thus making possible a multiplicity of different ways in which the work as a whole can be viewed. Moore first thought of the possibility of using a turntable for sculpture which could not otherwise be seen in the round when he was carving his Screen for the Time-Life Building in Bond Street in 1952–3, but considerations of safety prevented his scheme from being carried out.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981