Not on display
- Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
- Object: 1585 × 2800 × 1370 mm
- Presented by the artist 1978
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.3 is the third of four large-scale two-part sculptures made by Henry Moore between 1959 and 1961.1 This series represented a major development in Moore’s treatment of the reclining figure, a subject that preoccupied him throughout his career. In this work the bronze figure has been divided into two separate parts positioned on a 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 solid block marked by deep gouges and occupies the position of the legs. The front of the sculpture is usually understood to be the view where the taller upper body section is on the left and the leg section on the right.
The head of the figure is rendered as a thin, upright protrusion emerging from a broad, smoothly rounded horizontal ridge representing shoulders. The only suggestion of a facial feature is a small, round indentation in the front (fig.1), while the back of the head is marked by several sharp ridges and a deep gouge (fig.2). 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 block-like hand at the end of this arm connects to another horizontal appendage that might be either the left arm or abdomen. Although the form contains rounded surfaces, from the rear this upper body can be seen to feature a number of straight edges (fig.3). As well as the almost square-shaped hole that runs through the torso, a deep recess with straight edges marks a space between the shoulders, while both flanks appear to extend vertically downwards before turning at right-angles with the base.
From plaster to bronze
Sources and development
The Henry Moore Gift
The other works in this series are Two Piece Reclining Figure No.1 1959 (Chelsea School of Art, London), Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960 (Tate T00395), and Two Piece Reclining Figure No.4 1961 (Wakefield Art Gallery).
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.266.
Moore cited in Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work, London 1978, p.57.
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.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.300.
See Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, 1987, 2nd edn, London 2003, pp.323–4.
Henry Moore, letter to Heinz Ohff, 8 March 1967, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Moore cited in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, transcript of Third Programme, BBC Radio, broadcast 14 July 1963, pp.3–4, Tate Archive TGA 200816.
Carlton Lake, ‘Henry Moore’s World’, Atlantic Monthly, vol.209, no.1, January 1962, p.44.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.75.
Henry Moore cited in Hugh Burnett (ed.), Face to Face: Interviews with John Freeman, London 1964, p.34.
John Russell, Henry Moore, London 1973, p.202.
Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921–1969, London 1970, p.29.
Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 4: Complete Sculpture 1964–73, London 1977, p.9.
John Read, Portrait of an Artist: Henry Moore, London 1979, p.82.
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.
See Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of His Life and Work, London 1965, p.227; Melville 1970, p.29; and Alan G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto 1987, p.193.
See Philip James (ed.), Henry Moore on Sculpture, London 1966, p.269.
Donald Hall, Henry Moore: The Life and Work of a Great Sculptor, London 1966, p.160.
See John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, London 1986, p.35.
Anne Bromberg, A Guide to the Collections: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas 1979, pp.112–17.
See Peter Fuller, ‘Henry Moore: An English Romantic’, in Susan Compton (ed.), Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London 1988, pp.37–44; and Christa Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work-Theory-Impact, London 2008, pp.207–13.
Margaret Drabble (ed.), The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford 1985, p.843.
John Piper, British Romantic Artists, London 1942.
David Sylvester, Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1968, p.93.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.76.
Russell 1973, p.211.
See ‘Note on the Henry Moore Gift’, 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
These figures are based on those listed in a memo in the exhibition’s records; see Tate Public Records TG 92/344/2.
Norman Reid, letter to Mary Danowski, 31 August 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
See Judith Jeffries, letter to Joanna Drew, 3 October 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/9/400/1.
Henry Moore, letter to Norman Reid, 28 November 1978, Tate Public Records TG/4/9/400/1.