Henry Moore OM, CH

Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2

1960, cast 1961–2

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 1250 x 2900 x 1375 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1960
Reference
T00395

Display caption

The holes and gouged surfaces of this sculpture are reminiscent of eroded cliffs. According to Moore this fusion of human and landscape forms served as ‘a metaphor of the relationship of humanity with the earth’. The character of that relationship, however, remains open to interpretation. It could suggest a harmonious union of mankind with nature or equally a crisis-ridden sense of isolation and fragmentation.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

Entry

This sculpture is the second in a series of four large-scale, two-piece sculptures of reclining figures that Moore made between 1959 and 1961 (although Moore did go on to create additional two-piece sculptures later in his career). The subject of the reclining figure was a major preoccupation of Moore’s. In this work the bronze figure has been divided into two separate parts positioned on a copper base: one rises vertically to a central point and may be understood to represent a head, shoulders and torso, while the other takes the form of a block-like arch and occupies the position of legs, bent at the knees.
The head of the figure is rendered as a thin, upright protrusion emerging from a broad horizontal ridge representing shoulders. It does not bear any facial features but has a flatter, smoother side that appears to be turned towards the left shoulder, which curves sharply downwards to the base (fig.1). The right shoulder extends down to form a recognisable arm shape, bent at the elbow so that the forearm rests on the base. The curve of this arm is accentuated by a hole that pierces the centre of the torso, while a shallow arch lifts the centre of the body off the base.
Fig.1
Detail of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960, cast 1961–2 showing textured surface
Tate T00395
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Fig.2
Detail of head and torso of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960, cast 1961–2 (side view)
Tate T00395
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved


When seen in the round, however, the identification of singular figurative forms is brought into question. From the other side of this part of the sculpture a series of forms project away from the central mass and appear to suggest an alternative ‘front’ view (fig.2). Here the shoulders extend outwards and curve around the central hole like schematic arms, one of which stretches to the base into a block-like form reminiscent of a fist.

From plaster to bronze

Sources and development

Moore and classicism

Acquisition by Tate

Alice Correia
July 2013

Notes

1
Henry Moore cited in Carlton Lake, ‘Henry Moore’s World’, Atlantic Monthly, vol.209, no.1, January 1962, p.44.
2
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.266.
3
Moore cited in Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work, London 1978, p.57.
4
See Alan G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto 1987, p.194.
5
Phillip King, ‘Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.265.
6
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.345.
7
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.226.
8
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.300.
9
King 2006, p.265.
10
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of His Life and Work, London 1965, p.226.
11
Henry Moore cited in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, transcript of Third Programme, BBC Radio, broadcast 14 July 1963, p.10, Tate Archive TGA 200816.
12
See Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, London 2003, pp.323–4.
13
Henry Moore, letter to Heinz Ohff, 8 March 1967, The Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
14
See ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, Tate Archive TGA 200816, pp.3–4.
15
Ibid., p.4.
16
Henry Moore, letter to Martin Butlin, 13 April 1961, Tate Artist Catalogue File, Henry Moore, A23945.
17
Henry Moore, ‘Two-Piece Reclining Figures 1959 and 1960’, artist’s statement sent to Martin Butlin, 13 April 1961, Tate Artist Catalogue File, Henry Moore, A23945, reprinted in Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, Tate Gallery Catalogues: The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, vol.2, p.28.
18
Alan Bowness, ‘Introduction’, in Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 4: Complete Sculpture 1964–73, London 1977, p.8.
19
Ibid.
20
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.75.
21
Henry Moore cited in Lake 1962, p.44, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, pp.287–8.
22
David Thompson, ‘Recumbent Figure by Henry Moore’, Listener, 25 November 1965, p.861.
23
Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921–1969, London 1970, p.29.
24
Moore, ‘Two-Piece Reclining Figures 1959 and 1960’, 13 April 1961, Tate Artist Catalogue File, Henry Moore, A23945.
25
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.325.
26
Peter Fuller, ‘Henry Moore: An English Romantic’, in Susan Compton (ed.), Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London 1988, p.39.
27
Read 1965, p.227.
28
Donald Hall, Henry Moore: The Life and Work of a Great Sculptor, London 1966, p.160.
29
See John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, London 1986, p.35.
30
John Read, Portrait of an Artist: Henry Moore, London 1979, p.82.
31
Margaret Drabble (ed.), The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford 1985, p.843.
32
John Ruskin cited in Fuller 1988, p.40.
33
See Fiona Russell, ‘John Ruskin, Herbert Read and the Englishness of British Modernism’, in David Peters Corbett, Ysanne Holt and Fiona Russell (eds.), The Geographies of Englishness: Landscape and the National Past 1880–1940, New Haven 2002, pp.303–21.
34
Peter Fuller, Henry Moore: An Interpretation, London 1993, p.35.
35
John Piper, British Romantic Artists, London 1942.
36
Henry Moore cited in ‘Art and Life: V.S. Pritchett, G. Sutherland, K. Clark, H. Moore in Discussion’, Listener, 13 November 1941, pp.657–9, reprinted in Philip James (ed.), Henry Moore on Sculpture, London 1966, p.76.
37
Fuller 1988, p.43.
38
Keith Sutton, ‘Henry Moore at Whitechapel’, Listener, 8 December 1960, p.1070.
39
Ibid.
40
David Thompson, ‘Mr Henry Moore’s Exhilarating Exhibition’, Times, 28 November 1960, p.6.
41
For the sculpture of the river-god known as ‘Ilissos’ see http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/f/figure_of_a_river-god.aspx, accessed 6 March 2014.
42
John Russell, Henry Moore, London 1973, p.202.
43
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.47.
44
Ibid.
45
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.349.
46
Cardinal 2000, p.47.
47
Berthoud 2003, p.183.
48
Tate cannot acquire works of art by artists while they are serving as trustees.
49
The other five sculptures were: Composition 1932 (Tate T00385), Stringed Figure 1938, cast 1960 (Tate T00386), Reclining Figure 1939, cast 1959 (Tate T00387), Helmet Head No.1 1950, cast 1960 (Tate T00388), and Mother and Child 1953, cast c.1954 (Tate T00389).
50
Adrian Stokes, letter to John Rothenstein, 23 November 1960, Tate Public Records TG 4/2/742/2.
51
John Rothenstein, letter to Henry Moore, 16 December 1960, Tate Public Records TG 4/2/742/2.
52
Henry Moore, letter to Norman Reid, 1 March 1961, Tate Public Records TG 4/2/742/2.
53
See Henry Moore’s sales log book, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.

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