565 x 137 x 116 mm
Lent from a private collection 1994
Technique and condition
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', July 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Standing Woman 1924 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, November 2012, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
Moore had been introduced to Cézanne’s work sometime between 1919 and 1921 when he attended Leeds School of Art. There Moore had come into contact with Sir Michael Sadler (1861–1943), the Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University, who owned works by Cézanne and who encouraged students to study his personal art collection.16 But Cézanne’s approach had a more direct impact on Moore from 1922. Moore and fellow student Raymond Coxon sought permission from the Principal of the RCA, John Rothenstein, to go to Paris during Whitsun week in June 1922,17 with the express intention of studying Cézanne’s work.18 Rothenstein agreed and Moore and Coxon visited Auguste Pellerin’s collection of paintings, which included Cézanne’s The Large Bathers. Moore later recalled: ‘Cézanne’s figures had a monumentality about them I liked. In his Bathers, the figures were very sculptural in the sense of being big blocks and not a lot of surface detail about them. They are indeed monumental.’19 Moore’s identification of Cézanne’s painted figures as block-like and lacking in surface detail suggests that he may have had Cézanne in mind when sculpting Standing Woman, whose weighty limbs and schematic facial features resemble Cézanne’s bulky nude bathers.
22 By carving intricate plaits and ponytails down the backs of their figures, these artists emphasised the three-dimensionality of the work and demonstrated that the rear view of a sculpture could be as interesting or important as the front. Like Singer, Moore’s sculpture was designed to be seen in the round; it is impossible to gain a full appreciation of it from a single, frontal viewing position. In his 1930 essay ‘A View of Sculpture’ Moore articulated what he was perhaps trying to achieve with Standing Woman:
In 1930 Moore praised the ‘removal of the Greek spectacles from the eyes of the modern sculptor’ in his essay ‘A View on Sculpture’.31 Here Moore consciously echoed Gaudier-Brzeska, who had used the phrase ‘Greek spectacles’ in his 1914 essay ‘Vortex’, suggesting that the historical preference for representational Greek art had blinkered artists to the ‘intrinsic emotional significance of shapes’ found in non-European art.32 Nonetheless, Dejardin’s identification of a ‘Grecian’ sculptural legacy in Standing Woman points to the divergent academic demands and personal interests that Moore was grappling with during his time as a student at the RCA. If Standing Woman contains a lingering trace of the academic tradition Moore sought to reject, this might go some way to explaining why he left the work seemingly unfinished.
The survival of Standing Woman may be due to its ownership; from 1922 to 1925 Moore often stayed with his sister Mary Spencer Moore (later Garrould) in Wighton near the Norfolk coast during college vacations. A number of his early non-academic sculptures, including Dog 1922 (The Henry Moore Foundation) and Mother and Child 1922, were carved in her garden in these years.36 Although it is not known where Moore made Standing Woman, it is likely that he made it during one of his Norfolk holidays. Moore’s sister was identified as its owner in the artist’s catalogue raisonné in 1957, and she probably owned it from the time Moore made it. Ann Garrould, Moore’s niece, and daughter of Moore’s sister Mary, recalled that the sculpture had been named Josephine and was used as a door-stop when she was a child.
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Standing Woman 1924 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, November 2012, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www