Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Anon., ‘Genesis Left Stone Cold: Symbolism in the Sculptures of Mr. Henry Moore’

The Star, 13 April 1931.

GENESIS LEFT STONE COLD.
SYMBOLISM IN SCULPTURES OF MR. HENRY MOORE.
SUN BATHERS.
ART students wandered into the Leicester Galleries to-day to lose themselves before the sculptures of Mr. Henry Moore, whom Epstein has generously hailed as “vitally important” to the future of the art.
All day long one could find young men and maidens absorbed in study of these concepts, which leave Rima, Night and Genesis stone cold. For Mr. Moore does go it.
Exactly What It Is.
Philistines, for example, will look at No. 29, and ask themselves what it is. They lack the proper Chelsea training, or they would know that this is not a study of a freak potato at Hogsnorton Allotment Show. Mr. Moore labels it. “Composition,” and that is exactly what it is.
After all, why demand regularity in a study which is meant to symbolise an artist starting work the morning after the night before, and not being certain what to do with the stone?
[Image caption: MOTHER AND CHILD (ALLEGED).]
The Typist’s Dilemma.
Mr. Moore goes in a good deal for reclining figures. No. 31 is labelled thus, and the whole expression on the woman’s face is symbolic of doubt, regret, remorse and wistfulness. Clearly she is a typist wondering whether or not she mixed up two important letters the previous evening.
At a first visit it is impossible to give a considered judgment of some of the other reclining figures, who are all ardent sunbathers.
At first sight one feels that some of the parts have got mixed in transit, for some of the ladies have their fists stuck on their knees, and generally show an uncertainty as to whether their heads belong to their bodies. But a second visit would no doubt.
No. 14, one of the biggest in the show, is a distressing figure. She has apparently been in for a three-legged race, and has fallen down so thoroughly that she has given up all hope of ever getting up.
No. 5 is another highly sympolic study.
Some people would say that it is feminine, but there will be an equally strong school of thought which will hold that it started as a close-up of Dempsey sitting in his corner before he ate Carpentier.
Nearly every sort of stone is represented in the show, to say nothing of wood, slate, lead, and concrete. Some of the concretes demonstrate that the sculptor would have made his fortune as an art faker for they have that weather-beaten, slightly decayed, rakish look of ancient sculptures dug up from Egyptian tombs, or found in the caves of Central America.
On the other hand, if some of the masks suggest November the Fifth, there is a little stone head which would make a swagger motor mascot, and there is one lady at least who has some clothing, even if it is only a one-leg skirt.

How to cite

Anon., ‘Genesis Left Stone Cold: Symbolism in the Sculptures of Mr. Henry Moore’, in The Star, 13 April 1931, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/anon-genesis-left-stone-cold-symbolism-in-the-sculptures-of-mr-henry-moore-r1173016, accessed 24 May 2024.