1949, cast 1950–1
1540 x 1180 x 700 mm
Inscribed ‘Henry Moore’ and stamped ‘Alexis Rudier Fondeur, Paris’ on rear of base
Purchased from the artist through the Buchholz Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1950
In an edition of 4 plus 2 artist’s copies
Technique and condition
It is likely that the plaster model sent to the foundry was cut up into parts so that separate moulds could be created. The individual parts could then be pieced together after casting. Family Group was Moore’s first large sculpture to be cast in bronze, and was ultimately cast in an edition of four plus two artist’s copies. Tate’s Family Group was cast at the Rudier foundry in Paris between 1950 and 1951 and is likely to be number two or three in the edition. However, there is no edition number on the sculpture because by the time it was cast Moore had still not decided how many bronzes he would make. The sculpture is inscribed with the foundry name ‘Alexis.Rudier | Fondeur.Paris’ on the back of the base behind the woman (fig.2). (Although the founder Alexis Rudier died in 1897, the foundry continued to use his name until 1952.) The artist’s signature, ‘HENRY MOORE’, was inscribed into the side of the base next to the man’s left foot (fig.3).
How to citeRozmarijn van der Molen, 'Technique and Condition', March 2014, in Alice Correia, ‘Family Group 1949, cast 1950–1 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The poses of the two adults seem to mirror each other, especially in the way that the woman’s right arm and the man’s left arm both curve outwards in a similar arc to hold the child between them (fig.1). The woman has small domed breasts and wears an ankle length skirt that drapes between her knees and stretches across the gap between her shins. Her legs are positioned straight in front of her, while the man’s thin, tubular legs are positioned at a slight angle, orientated towards the woman. Unlike the woman, the man does not appear to be wearing any clothing on his lower body.
Origins of Family Group
Although it was not easy convincing the county education committee that the sculpture would be suitable, the commission was ultimately approved in 1949.13 The finished work was Moore’s first major bronze sculpture and his first large-scale sculpture to be editioned in multiple casts. According to Moore’s biographer Roger Berthoud, ‘Henry’s fee had struck the education committee as excessive. So he reduced it to what he reckoned was cast price, about £750, covering casting, transport, materials, enlargement etc., on the understanding that he could make extra casts and dispose of them himself: a concession from which he was overwhelmingly the gainer’.14
From plaster to bronze
Tate and Family Group
Reception and interpretation
This catalogue entry was compiled using research undertaken by Robert Sutton, Collaborative Doctoral Award student (University of York and Tate).
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Family Group 1949, cast 1950–1 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www