Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center)
1963–5, cast date unknown
2350 x 3723 x 1652 mm
Inscribed ‘Moore’ and stamped ‘GUSS : H. NOACK BERLIN’ on lower rear of torso
Presented by the artist 1978
In an edition of 2
Technique and condition
When the sculpture left the foundry it would have been given a coating of wax to protect it. This wax coating is replenished on an annual basis as part of Tate’s ongoing conservation programme for all its outdoor sculptures. It is also examined to check for any signs of degradation, and washed to remove bird lime and dirt. A resin is also applied to help protect the bronze at the waterline.
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center) 1963–5, cast date unknown by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, November 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The pose of a reclining figure – created by an upright torso and horizontally-arranged legs – was a motif that preoccupied Moore for much of his career. Works such as Recumbent Figure 1938 (Tate N05387) and Draped Reclining Woman 1957–8 (Tate T06825) are earlier examples of Moore’s engagement with the subject, which from 1959 went in a new direction when Moore began to systematically segment his reclining figures into two and three pieces, as can be seen in Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960 (Tate T00395) (fig.2). In 1961 Moore explained:
Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center) represents a continuation and development of these earlier ideas and forms. The sculpture comprises an upright torso part and a separate block-like part, which, judging by the title and Moore’s earlier manifestations of this subject, would seem to denote the legs. The torso section is wide and thin and marked by irregular curvaceous protrusions. A thin slither of bronze marks the tallest point of the sculpture and may be recognised as a head due to its position within the composition, although it possesses no recognisable facial features. The rear of the head is reminiscent of a fin that extends down the figure’s back to create a ridged backbone, which divides the back into two similarly sized sections (fig.3). Two broad shoulders round off the top of the torso, which does not have arms. On the left shoulder is a triangular shaped depression, the edge of which is akin to a collar bone. The torso remains approximately the same width from shoulders to hips, at which point it splits into two truncated appendages separated by an arch. Seen from the side, the torso appears to lean forwards at a diagonal angle towards the other section of the sculpture (fig.4).
The second, smaller section of the sculpture comprises two differently shaped and highly textured vertical columns connected by a smooth, curved sheet of bronze that creates an almost tubular hollow between them (fig.5). This linking curve arches over the gap but also extends backwards to create a fin-like protrusion (fig.6). The heavily textured surfaces, overhanging edges and rounded hollows of this part of the sculpture are reminiscent of seafront caves and eroded cliffs, allusions that are accentuated by its placement in water.
The Lincoln Center commission
From studio to foundry
Moore’s assistants would have initially constructed an armature to the required size and rough shape for each section of the sculpture. The armature would have been made up of numerous lengths of wood and possibly chicken wire, and then draped in scrim, a bandage-like fabric. Successive layers of plaster were then built up over the hollow structure until only a short section of each armature rod was exposed. The armature served not only a structural purpose, but was also used to facilitate the enlargement process, with the end of each rod corresponding to a precise point on the surface of the sculpture.10 After modelling the sculpture to the required shape and size, Moore would then have concentrated on the surface texture. Using an array of tools – including saws, chisels, and files – he created different types of markings, grooves and cuts depending on the wetness of the plaster. Moore found plaster to be a very useful material because it could be ‘both built up, as in modelling, or cut down, in the way you carve stone or wood’.11 The surface of the plaster was captured in the casting process and an examination of the bronze surface of Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center) shows how Moore created a range of textures using a number of different tools including fine points, graters and spatulas (fig.10).
Having decided which sculpture he wanted to make, Moore set to work building the full-size plaster in a specially constructed studio on the grounds at Hoglands (fig.12). The full-size plaster was completed in August 1964, whereupon it was carved into pieces and shipped to the Noack Foundry in Berlin, where the individual parts were cast in bronze before being welded together. During the 1950s and early 1960s Moore used a number of different foundries in London and Paris but started working with Noack in 1958 following an introduction by the dealer Harry Fischer.15 By then Noack was regarded as one of the best bronze foundries able to undertake large-scale castings and in 1967 Moore stated, ‘I use the Noack foundry for casting most of my work because in my opinion, Noack is the best bronze founder I know ... Also, the Noack foundry is reliable in all ways – in keeping to dates of delivery – and in sustaining the quality of their work’.16 The casting, welding and patinating of Reclining Figure 1963–5 took almost a year to complete, but the finished work was flown to New York in July 1965.
After being assembled at the foundry the bronze sculpture was probably returned to Moore so that he could check the quality of casting and make decisions about the patination. A patina is the surface colour of a sculpture and is usually achieved by applying chemical solutions to the pre-heated bronze surface. This sculpture has a dark brown patina, overlaid with green shades that have probably developed over time as a result of exposure to the elements (fig.14). In 1963 Moore asserted, ‘I always patinate bronze myself’, explaining that since he had conceived the sculpture it would be unlikely that someone else would be able to replicate the exact colour he wanted.17 However, it is known that Noack would sometimes patinate Moore’s sculpture at the foundry. But even in these instances Moore was still able to adjust the patina when the sculpture was returned to the studio.
Sources and development
25 Whereas works such as Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960 illustrate the fragmentation of the body, and thus develop ideas explored in earlier works such as Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure 1934 (Tate T02054), Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center) is closer in concept to Moore’s multi-part work Two Forms 1934 (fig.18), in which a tall member looms over a smaller rock-like piece. The relationship between the two parts of Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center), which seem to have individual identities, is significantly different from the other two-part reclining figure sculptures of the 1960s, where the two parts appear to interact in a way that establishes a unified whole.
‘A supreme symbol of our human destiny’
The Henry Moore Gift
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center) 1963–5, cast date unknown by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, November 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www