Henry Moore OM, CH Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 3 1961

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 3
Date 1961
Medium Bronze
Dimensions Object: 1585 x 2800 x 1370 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the artist 1978
Reference
T02287
Not on display

Catalogue entry

T02287 TWO PIECE RECLINING FIGURE NO. 3 1961

Inscribed ‘Moore 0/7’ and stamped with foundry mark ‘H. NOACK BERLIN’ on left foot
Bronze, 58 × 94 3/4 × 44 7/8 (147.4 × 240.7 × 114.1)
Presented by the artist 1978
Exh: Henry Moore, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, July–September 1967 (6); Henry Moore: Sculpture, Drawings, Graphics, Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, Lancs., November–December 1971 (10, repr.); Henry Moore, Expo Zürich, Zürcher Forum, Zurich, June–August 1976 (64); The Henry Moore Gift, Tate Gallery, June–August 1978, repr. in colour p.46
Lit: Herbert Read, Henry Moore, 1965, pp.229–32 (repr. pl.217); Philip James (ed.), Henry Moore on Sculpture, 1966, pp.266–74; John Russell, Henry Moore, 1968, p.187 (repr. pl.191, 192); John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, Henry Moore, 1968, pp.338, 349; David Sylvester, catalogue of Henry Moore, Tate Gallery, 1968, pp.93–4; Alan G. Wilkinson, The Moore Collection in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1979, p.172 (original plaster repr. pl.151)
Repr: Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture 1955–64, 1965, pl.129–134

This, the third in the series of two-piece reclining figures, is no.478 in Lund Humphries; there are in all eight bronze casts, including the Tate's which was the artist's.

Moore's first two-piece reclining figure was made in 1959 but his interest in broken or dismembered figures goes back as far as the early 1930s and can be seen in such semi-abstract works as the Tate's ‘Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure’ of 1934 (T02054). However, with the large two-piece figures of 1959–61 Moore recognised that he was using the space between forms more sculpturally than before. His remarks about the early two-pieces, collected in James (1966) and in Hedgecoe (1968), are worth quoting at some length as they are also to a certain extent applicable to later two-piece sculptures in the Tate's collection (e.g. T02294 and T02295).

‘... I realised what an advantage a separated two-piece composition could have in relating figures to landscape. Knees and breasts are mountains. Once these two parts become separated you don't expect it to be a naturalistic figure; therefore, you can justifiably make it like a landscape or a rock...’ (James, op. cit., p.266)

‘... In the maquette [for ‘Two-Piece Reclining Figure No. 1’] the leg and the head end were joined but when I came to enlarge the sculpture there was a stage when the junction between the leg and the head didn't seem necessary. Then I realised that dividing the figure into two parts made many more three-dimensional variations than if it had just been a monolithic piece ...’ (Hedgecoe, op. cit., p.338)

‘Making a sculpture in two pieces means that, as you walk round it, one form gets in front of the other in ways you cannot foresee... The space between the two parts has to be exactly right. It's as though one was putting together the fragments of a broken antique sculpture in which you have, say, only the knee, a foot and the head. In the reconstruction the foot would have to be the right distance from the knee, and the knee the right distance from the head, to leave room for the missing parts - otherwise you would get a wrongly proportioned figure. So, in these two-piece and three-piece sculptures [see, T02289 and T02292] the space between the pieces is a vital part of the sculpture.’ (ibid., p.349)

In conversation with the compiler (12 December 1980) about both the two-and three-piece reclining figures, Moore was at pains to stress his concern with the interdependence of space and proportion as outlined above, although the figure/landscape analogy is of equal importance when assessing this particular development in his art.

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

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