Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Henry Moore Letter to Sir Kenneth Clark 22 April 1939

‘Whenever I write to you nowadays’, Moore acknowledged, ‘it seems to be to thank you for something you’ve done for me’. On this occasion Clark had helped secure for Moore the support and patronage of Gordon Washburn, then Director of the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, one of the more important modern art museums in America. Having lunched with Clark and Moore and then having visited Moore’s studio in London, Washburn was persuaded to buy a large reclining figure in elm. Moore was thrilled with this outcome, not least because he saw it as a step towards having an exhibition of his sculpture in America one day.


April 22nd/39                            ‘Burcroft’
                                         Nr Canterbury
Dear Sir Kenneth,
  I’m very pleased indeed you wrote and asked me to come to lunch last Friday and arranged for me to meet Mr and Mrs Washburn. They came round to the studio and saw all the work there, and he decided to buy for the Buffalo Gallery, the wooden (elm) reclining figure at £150. – (You may remember it,– it was lying on a low piece of furniture upstairs, the first time you and Jane came to Parkhill Road.)
It’s something like this [arrow pointing to sketch of reclining elm figure]
not very much like it!
now I’ve drawn it.
I liked both of them very much and enjoyed showing them the work in the studio. He was for some time undecided between having this elm reclining figure, or having the earlier reclining woman in Green Hornton stone. I am [end of p.1] tremendously pleased about it. It is a carving I like, and that will now make two carvings of mine in important galleries in America, – the other one being in the Museum of Modern Art – All of which will help perhaps towards what I’d like eventually to happen, that is a sculpture exhibition in America.
 After seeing the drawing of mine which you showed him at your house, he looked at all the framed ones I had at the studio, and wished to buy one for his gallery, but I’d rather he waited until I do another batch, and let me choose one from them to send to him, and that’s what we decided I should do.
 So thank you again for arranging it all ... whenever I write to you nowadays it seems to be to thank you for something you’ve done for me. – And of course apart from the Washburns coming to the studio, it was so very nice to see you both again.
              Yours ever

How to cite

Henry Moore, Letter to Sir Kenneth Clark, 22 April 1939, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/henry-moore-letter-to-sir-kenneth-clark-r1145494, accessed 25 May 2024.