Henry Moore - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 17, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sir Georg K.B.E. & Lady Solti (acquired directly from the artist by November 1983)
    Thence by descent to the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Henry Moore: 60 Years of His Art, May 14 - September 25, 1983, p. 120 (another example exhibited and illustrated as Draped Reclining Mother and Child)
    London, Marlborough Fine Art, Henry Moore: 85th Birthday Exhibition, June 15 - August 13, 1983, no. 31, p. 62 (another example exhibited and illustrated as Draped Reclining Mother and Baby)
    Hempstead, Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University; University Park, Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University; Philadelphia, Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania; The Baltimore Art Museum, Mother and Child: The Art of Henry Moore, September 10, 1987 - April 17, 1988, no. 110, p. 119 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Beijing, Beihai Park; Beijing, China Art Gallery; Guangzhou, Guangdong Museum of Art; Shanghai Art Museum, Moore in China, October 24, 2000 - April 15, 2001, no. 108, p. 85 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Sakura, Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art; Ashikaga Museum of Art; Takamatsu City Museum of Art; Kagoshima City Museum of Art, Henry Moore: A Living Presence, April 5 - November 3, 2003, no. S62, p. 88 (another example exhibited and illustrated; studio installation view illustrated pp. 158-159)

  • Literature

    Tanya Harrod, “Henry Moore at Eighty Five,” Art International, vol. XXVI, no. 5, November - December 1983, p. 14 (another example illustrated as Draped Reclining Mother and Baby)
    Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, 1981-1986, vol. 6, London, 1988, no. 821, pl. 79, p. 41 (another example illustrated as Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby)
    Jacob D. Weintraub, ed., Master Sculptors of the XX Century, New York, 1987, no. 58 (another example illustrated)
    Angela Dyer, ed., Henry Moore: The Human Dimension, London, 1991, no. 113, p. 136 (another example illustrated)
    Alan Bowness, Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London, 1998, p. 46

  • Catalogue Essay

    "From very early on I have had an obsession with the Mother and Child theme. It has been a universal theme from the beginning of time and some of the earliest sculptures we’ve found from the Neolithic Age are of a Mother and Child…So that I was conditioned, as it were, to see it in everything. I suppose it could be explained as a 'Mother complex’." - Henry Moore

    Uniting Henry Moore’s iconic subjects of the reclining figure with that of the mother and child, Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby, 1982, depicts a tender sculptural portrait of a reclining mother with her infant. While beautifully modulated drapery largely conceals the figure’s anatomy, a clearly delineated arm forms a protective right angle around the baby, while the mother’s eyes stare unblinkingly outward at the viewer. The reclining mother and child form represents an incredibly rare theme in Moore’s oeuvre. The work was conceived in 1982 as a model for Moore’s large-scale bronze sculpture Draped Reclining Mother and Baby, casts of which reside in the Ho-Am Museum of Art, Seoul, Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Tokushima, and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, among others. Cast in bronze and patinated by Moore himself, this intimate work demonstrates the intrinsic quality of immediacy with which the artist formed the figure in clay with his own hands as a way of working through ideas for his more monumental sculptures.

    Unseen by the wider public in nearly 40 years, Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby was acquired directly from Moore by Sir Georg Solti K.B.E. One of the greatest conductors of the past century, Solti revolutionized the science and art of recording classical music during his tenure at Decca Records – winning the greatest number of Grammy Awards in both the classical and pop category – and transformed institutions such as the Musical Director of the Convent Garden Opera Company between 1961 and 1971, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra between 1969 and 1991. Solti first met Moore on the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner in the 1970s, a fortuitous encounter that marked the beginning of a deep friendship between two men who shared the firm belief in the transformative power of art. It was on one of Solti’s regular visits to Moore’s studio just outside of London that he first encountered Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby in the company of his eight-year old granddaughter, who, as the family story goes, was asked by Moore to consult on the positioning of the baby in the present work.

    Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby is distinguished not only by this exceptional provenance, but also for its synthesis of some of the most central themes in Moore’s oeuvre: the reclining figure, the relationship of mother and child, and the landscape. The symbol-laden subject matter of a mother and child, together with that of the reclining figure, occupied Moore throughout his over six-decade long career – giving rise to some of his very first sculptures in the early 1920s. Prompted perhaps by his becoming a grandfather in 1977, Moore returned to this subject matter with creative fervor some six decades later. As Norbert Lynton highlighted the present work, “the theme of the Reclining Mother and Child is surprisingly rare in Moore's work…This Mother and Child sculpture is one of the most comforting of them all: here, more than ever, he gave us ‘a big form protecting a little form’, his definition of the theme” (Norbert Lynton, Henry Moore: The Human Dimension, exh. cat., Petrodvorets & Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, 1991, p. 136).

    In its organic, highly abstracted form, Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby offers a broader sculptural exploration as the undulating curves of the horizontal form transform the figure into a rolling landscape. Indeed, as curator Gail Gelburd argued, the "Mother and Child motif goes beyond the image to a primal motif based on the theme of life and birth, for Moore it means creativity. The art is reminiscent of some of the earliest primitive images due to its conceptual base. Moore's work is an attempt to get at the essential nature and to shape it from within...He breathes life and vitality into the inanimate object. The mother and child sculptures are not only a symbol of maternity but of creativity itself” (Gail Gelburd, Mother and Child: The Art of Henry Moore, exh. cat., Hofstra Museum, New York, 1987, p. 27).

Property from the Collection of Sir Georg Solti K.B.E


Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby

incised with the artist's signature and number “Moore 7/9” on the base
15 1/2 x 30 7/8 x 15 7/8 in. (39.5 x 78.6 x 40.3 cm.)
Conceived in 1982, cast in 1983, this work is number 7 from an edition of 9 plus 1 artist’s proof. This work is recorded in the archives of the Henry Moore Foundation.

$3,500,000 - 4,500,000 

Sold for $4,215,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1278

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 17 May 2018