Two Piece Reclining Figure No.9
1968, cast c.1968–70
1435 x 2438 x 1350 mm
Inscribed ‘Moore’ on base and stamped with foundry mark ‘H. NOACK BERLIN’ on side of base
Presented by the artist 1978
Artist’s copy aside from edition of 7
Technique and condition
The finished bronze sculpture was artificially patinated to colour the surface and help disguise welds and repairs. This process involved applying chemical solutions to the bronze that reacted with the metal to create coloured compounds. In this case the patina is a dark variegated brown with warm and cool shades, while there is a green patina in some of the crevices (fig.2). These different effects were probably achieved by applying at least three different chemical solutions in varying concentrations. There are also some golden highlights on the surface, which may point to the remains of a protective lacquer, applied to prevent the patina from oxidising.
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Two Piece Reclining Figure No.9 1968, cast c.1968–70 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, February 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The head of the figure does not possess any naturalistic facial features but can be recognised due to its position within the composition. Block-like protrusions with defined edges project out from the front of the neck and chest, while two deep grooves running vertically from the crown of the head and down the back of the figure’s neck are suggestive of flowing hair (fig.2). The main body of the figure curves down from the figure’s left shoulder towards the base, where it bends into a voluminous slab of bronze that may be understood either as an arm or the lower abdomen. From the figure’s right shoulder extends a tubular form that projects outwards horizontally and more closely resembles an arm. This terminates at a large rounded form similar to a hip bone that rises up from the lower abdomen below. The meeting of these two end points creates an enclosed hollow in the centre of the body.
The arrangement of the two parts of this sculpture is significantly different from Moore’s earlier two-piece reclining figures, in which each element is placed apart from the other so that they do not touch. While in his earlier sculptures Moore sought to emphasise the gap between each part, creating an active space between them, in Two Piece Reclining Figure No.9 the two components lock together to form a single entity, albeit one made of two distinctly individual parts.
From plaster to bronze
5 In light of Moore’s description of his working practice, it seems likely that he cast this bone in plaster and then attached it to the bulkier lower section to form the upper part of the figure’s body. It is also probable that the slight ridge extending around the top of the leg sections of both the maquette and the full-size sculpture (see fig.4) was formed when liquid plaster overflowed onto the upper surface of the clay mould when casting the initial model.
Moore applied colour to the surface of the full-size plaster when it was complete (fig.9) because, as he explained to the critic David Sylvester in 1963, the reflective qualities of white plaster could lend the sculpture an appearance that would be radically different when cast in bronze.8 Plaster could cast reflected light onto the underside and recessed areas of sculptures, whereas in bronze these areas would appear far darker. Painting the plaster thus allowed Moore to predict the contrast between different areas of the sculpture’s surface before sending it to the foundry.
Origins and development
Moore also found that dividing the body into separate components released it from the immediate constraints of naturalistic representation. Two Piece Reclining Figure No.9 is one of Moore’s most abstract treatments of the reclining figure; the leg piece in particular has been reduced and simplified into a table-like form, its scale and shape bearing little resemblance to human legs. In 1986, in an attempt to explain his use of non-naturalistic forms, Moore stated:
18 In 1977 Bowness expanded on Sylvester’s observations, suggesting that ‘the coming together of two or more parts of a sculpture is perhaps the essence of Moore’s later work, both in form and subject’.19 In Two Piece Reclining Figure No.9 the balanced column of the leg piece is reminiscent of Moore’s earlier work Two Piece Sculpture No.7: Pipe 1966 (Tate T02300; fig.13). According to Bowness, in both sculptures the two pieces touch via an elongated pipe-like component which refers ‘obliquely to the sexual relationship ... [whereby] the pipe is an obviously phallic form’.20
The Henry Moore Gift
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Two Piece Reclining Figure No.9 1968, cast c.1968–70 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, February 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www