Henry Moore - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Hanover Gallery Ltd., London
    Continental Fine Arts (Eric Estorick), New York (acquired from the above)
    Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in 1958

  • Exhibited

    London, The Hanover Gallery, Henry Moore, 24 June - 13 September 1958, no. 42 (present lot exhibited)
    Orange, Chapman College, Henry Moore, 31 January - 14 February 1964 (present lot exhibited)
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Henry Moore in Southern California, 2 October - 18 November 1973, no. 56 (another example exhibited)
    Hempstead, Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University; University Park, Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University; Philadelphia, Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania; Baltimore Art Museum, Mother and Child: the Art of Henry Moore, 10 September 1987 – 17 Aprill 1988 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    London, Royal Academy, Henry Moore, 16 September - 11 December 1988, no. 140, pp. 105, 240 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    St. Petersburg, Benois Museum; Moscow, Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Henry Moore: The Human Dimension, 17 June - 9 October 1991, no. 78, p. 103 (another example exhibited and illustrated)

  • Literature

    Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London, 1960, pp. 118 - 119 (another example illustrated)
    Henry J. Seldis, Henry Moore in America, Los Angeles, 1973, no. 56, p. 144 (another example illustrated)
    John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, p. 289 (another example illustrated)
    Robert Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, no. 526, p. 359 (another example illustrated)
    Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture: 1955-64, vol. 3, London, 1986, pls. 51d, 52, no. 418, p. 31 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Ranging from the ceramics of Picasso, sculptures by Henry Moore and the masterpieces produced by Jackson Pollock, the collection of Betty and Stanley Sheinbaum provides an unparalleled feast for the artistic and aesthetic senses.

    Born in 1920, New York, to the future television and film mogul Harry Warner (of Warner Bros), Betty grew up during the Golden Age of Hollywood, which coincided with the revolutionary success of her father’s empire. However in the sprawling, affluent suburbs of Los Angeles Betty also met her first husband – the prodigious screenwriter Milton Sperling, with whom she first began collecting art. Having acquired a large portion of her recently-retired father’s studio account in 1957, Betty worked with some of the most important dealers of the time, including Paul Kantor and Eric Estorick, to comprise a collection which encapsulated the artistic trends and social ideals at this fascinating moment in time, both in the art world and beyond. At the heart of her collecting lay a cultured eye and remarkable vision for catching unrecognized talent, such as the English sculptor Henry Moore, of whose work Betty was one of the first American collectors, acquiring a sensational group of maquettes which encapsulated the genius of his iconic practice. An artist herself – painting and welding sculptures from found materials in her garage-studio – Betty was also a fervent supporter of cutting-edge American art, adding to her collection works from the prestigious New York School, produced by figures such as Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell, as well as works from artists who had not yet fully established themselves, like the California-based Richard Diebenkorn. Indeed in her acquisition of his 1956 painting, Driveway, Betty demonstrated her refusal to be confined by contemporary taste and trends, as at the time little exposure was given to parallel abstract developments on the West Coast. Now considered one of the most important figures in abstract American painting, the purchase of Diebenkorn’s work was exemplary of Betty’s artistic foresight and autonomous approach to collecting. Deeply engaged with an acute art historical sensibility, the collector added works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall – thus creating seminal discourse between contemporary and modern art.

    Yet Betty Sheinbaum was inspiring not only for her commitment to contemporary art, but also for her passion for human rights, anti-war efforts and advocacy for peace in the Middle East – living her life at the often cataclysmic crossroads of art and politics. Betty remarried in 1964 to Stanley Sheinbaum, alumni of Stanford University and at the time a senior fellow at one of the world’s first think tanks, the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Despite Betty previously having a long-standing interest and engagement with politics, it was with Stanley whom she embarked on a path of concerted political activism – travelling to Cambodia in search of the Ho Chi Minh trail, and helping free future Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou during a military coup. Although unsuccessful in two runs for the Santa Barbara congressional seat, Stanley progressed to the position of Chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union with Betty by his side, and later the President of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners after the brutal beating of Rodney King in 1991.

    The Sheinbaum’s selfless commitment to political activism was matched perhaps only in their patronage of the budding crafts scene in California. Emerging in 1960s, the couple turned their attention to this dynamic movement after feeling that “painting and sculpture, particularly painting, had come to a dead end, and that a new vital spirit was in the crafts.” (Betty Sheinbaum, quoted in “Living With the Arts”, American Craft, January 1981, p. 25) The Sheinbaums became close to a number of these artists working outside the fine art world, in particular Peter Voulkos, a number of whose works the couple included in their collection, such as his 1958 masterpiece, Rodena. As a further testament to their artistic vision, Voulkos is now widely considered to be one of America’s most significant sculptors of the 20th century. The Sheinbaums further supported the movement’s development through generous loans and donations to museums, even founding their own galleries devoted to contemporary crafts, with Galeria del Sol in Santa Barbara and Fairtree Gallery in New York. These independent spaces aimed to reach the widest possible audiences, and were deeply rooted at the epicenter of the emerging contemporary craft scene.

    Embodying an intimate, inclusive and democratic vision, the Betty and Stanley Sheinbaum Collection represents the couple’s unwavering commitment to both the art world and political activism. Standing at the forefront of contemporary art, the couple were cultured patrons and engaged connoisseurs, who in their collecting immortalised the multifaceted trajectory of art history.

The Modern Form: Property from the Collection of Betty and Stanley Sheinbaum


Mother and Child against Open Wall

bronze with brown patina
23.2 x 27.9 x 16.5 cm (9 1/8 x 11 x 6 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1956, this work is from an edition of 12 plus 1 artist's proof.

This work is recorded in the archives of the Henry Moore Foundation.

HK$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

Sold for HK$2,250,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2017