Three Part Object
1264 x 718 x 613 mm
Inscribed ‘Moore 8/9’ and stamped with foundry mark ‘H. NOACK BERLIN’ on base
Presented by the artist 1978
Number 8 in an edition of 9 plus 1 artist’s copy
(?another cast reproduced pp.148–9).
Technique and condition
At the foundry the bronze would have been cast in multiple sections which were subsequently welded together to form the whole. There is a visible weld seam following the curved edge between the smooth and bulbous faces of the sculpture (fig.2). The base was probably sand cast, although it is not clear what casting technique was used for the sculpture itself. Weld seams were abraded down to the level of the original surface and textured to match the surrounding bronze using a range of small punch tools. This process is known as ‘chasing’. Sometimes repairs need to be made to casts if there are trapped air bubbles or other faults in the bronze. An example of one such repair can be seen in the welded patch at the top of the sculpture (fig.3).
The surface of the bronze was coloured using an artificial patina. This would have required chemical solutions to be applied to the surface of the bronze, triggering a reaction that produced coloured compounds. In this case it is probable that a chemical called potassium polysulphide (often called ‘liver of sulphur’) was used. This produces a range of brown tones depending on its concentration and the amount of heat applied. A layer of light green patina was then applied over the top. The sculpture may also have been given a lacquer coating, suggested by some brownish gold highlights visible where the patina has been protected, which in turn suggest that the sculpture was originally a lighter colour. There are green run-marks in the patina on some of the lower surfaces, which indicate that the sculpture has been displayed outdoors.
This sculpture was cast at the Noack Foundry in West Berlin in an edition of nine plus one artist’s proof. The artist’s signature and the number of the cast, ‘Moore 8/9’, are inscribed in a corner on the upper face of the base (fig.4). The founder’s mark ‘H. NOACK BERLIN’ is stamped just below it on an adjacent side (fig.5).
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Three Part Object 1960 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, April 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The upper segment is the smallest of the three and a curved recess with sharp edges has been carved into one of its faces. A thin, angular spur projects outwards from the inside of this curve, extending from the smoother lateral face. From one side it appears as though the top of the form has been cut into at right angles, creating a groove or channel that runs the length of its apex (fig.2). An almost identical recess and projecting spur appear in the same face of the middle segment, although the curve of the recess has been less sharply delineated and it covers a larger surface area. This segment is positioned on a more vertical angle than the upper form but has a very similar shape. Like the top segment, it is deeper than it is wide.
From plaster to bronze
Reception and interpretation
The Henry Moore Gift
After the 1978 exhibition Tate decided that it should lend certain works from the Henry Moore Gift to regional galleries in the United Kingdom on a long-term basis.22 With Moore’s approval a list of galleries and works was drawn up and in 1979 Three Part Object was loaned to Portsmouth City Art Gallery, where it was exhibited in the gallery’s sculpture garden. In December 1980 the sculpture was knocked off its plinth in an act of willful vandalism but fell onto soft ground and was not extensively damaged. The sculpture was reinstalled in 1981 and remained at the Portsmouth City Art Gallery until 1991. At this time Three Part Object was returned to Tate, where it was examined by conservation department staff who removed stains and bird droppings that had accumulated on its surface.
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Three Part Object 1960 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, April 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www