Henry Moore - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Thursday, June 24, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Phillips is delighted to offer Property from an Important Private Japanese Collection, comprising seven sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Antoine Bourdelle, and Henry Moore. Acquired from the Contemporary Sculpture Center, Japan the present works have resided in the same private collection for over forty years.


    Rodin redefined monumental sculpture towards the end of the 19th century, creating a new sculptural language which inspired not only his contemporaries and students but the future generation alike. The forerunner to modern sculpture, Rodin was interested in exploring and capturing individual and very human characteristics in his mythological and allegorical subject matters—such is the case in the biblical imagery he employed in Étude pour Adam au pilier and Étude pour Eve au pilier. The anxiety about the human state and individual experience so characteristic of his approach is poignantly apparent in his Cariatide à l’Urne, taille originale dite aussi petit modèle and Main crispée gauche avec figure implorante, the contorted forms of which accentuate movement and dynamism. 


    At the start of his career, Antoine Bourdelle shared Rodin’s interest in infusing realism with mythical and archetypal figures, while still foregrounding individual expressionism. Between 1893 and 1908 he was a pupil and assistant at the studio of Rodin, who was a great admirer of his student’s innovative monumental sculpture. Cheval avec grand soubassement, étude pour le Monument au général Alvear is the perfect example of the rough surfaces of Bourdelle's sculptures which were influenced by Rodin, and his use of flat, simplified forms which were drawn from archaic Greek and Roman antiquity.

  • Property from an Important Private Japanese Collection:

  • Moore’s Working Model for Animal Form echoes the work of both Rodin and Bourdelle: while the British sculptor’s exploration of the emotional interiority of humanity—both in relationships with others and isolated—shares an affinity with Rodin’s central concerns, Moore’s interest in antiquity and Greek mythology evokes that of Bourdelle. Working Model for Animal Form is rhythmic, dynamic, and betrays a profound understanding of the human state—characteristics that are so focal to his predecessors’ oeuvres.

    "[I realize] that a lot of things one might be using and being influenced by are, compared with Rodin, altogether too easy. So that as time has gone on, my admiration for Rodin has grown and grown."
    —Henry Moore
    The French modernists’ influence on both post-war art as well as the work of contemporary artists working today cannot be overstated. The raw physicality of the bronzes of other artists included in our Evening and Day Sales, such Louise Bourgeois and Willem de Kooning—with all their psychological and emotion connotations—are indebted to Rodin’s approach. Even more conspicuously, Bourdelle’s chevaux anticipated Deborah Butterfield’s steel and bronze horses and Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War. From Jeff Koons’s Gazing Ball (Demeter) to Lynn Chadwick’s bronze couples to Jim Dine’s mythological figures, 20th and 21st century artists have looked to Rodin and Bourdelle for both subject matter and execution style. Even Vase Saigon “Les Limbes et les Syrènes” foreshadows post-war artists’ exploration in the design realm, such as Keith Haring’s Writing Table and Frank Gehry’s Fish Lamp. Whether they were reinforcing his influence or responding to it, in their own way, each of these artists continued the legacy of Rodin in redefining the modern language for sculpture.


    [left] Lot 348, Kehinde Wiley, Rumors of War, 2019. [right] Lot 134, Willem de Kooning, Untitled #4, 1969.
    • Provenance

      Contemporary Sculpture Center, Tokyo (acquired directly from the artist in 1985)
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Wildenstein Tokyo, Henry Moore: Graphic and Sculpture, April 25–May 31, 1975, no. 9, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated)
      Kansas City, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Henry Moore: Maquettes and Working Models, November 22, 1987–date unknown, no. 40, p. 23 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 16)
      Venice, Giorgio Cini Foundation, Henry Moore: sculpture, drawings, etchings, tapestries, August 26–November 26, 1995, no. 111, p. 193 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
      Bremen, Gerhard Marcks-Haus; Berlin, Georg-Kolbe-Museum; Heilbronn, Städtischen Museen, Henry Moore—Animals, October 12, 1997–August 23, 1998, p. 202, (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 48)
      Saffron Walden Museum; Hertford Museum; Harlow, Gibberd Gallery, Henry Moore Sheep, September 12, 2009–October 30, 2010 (another example illustrated)

    • Literature

      David Mitchinson, ed., Henry Moore Sculpture: with comments by the artist, New York, 1981, no. 491, p. 314 (another example illustrated, p. 226)
      Walter J. Strachan, Henry Moore: Animals, London, 1983, no. 94–95, p. 102 (another example illustrated, p. 108)
      Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Volume 4, Complete Sculpture, 1964–73, London, 1991, no. 615, p. 58 (another example illustrated, pp. 59, 160–161)
      John Hedgecoe, A Monumental Vision: The Sculpture of Henry Moore, Toronto, 1998, no. 546, p. 234 (another example illustrated)

Property from an Important Japanese Private Collection


Working Model for Animal Form

incised with the artist's signature and number "Moore 3/9" lower center edge
bronze with a green patina
15 1/8 x 25 3/8 x 8 5/8 in. (38.4 x 64.5 x 21.9 cm)
Executed in 1969–1971, this work is number 3 from an edition of 9 plus 1 artist's proof.

This work is recorded in the archives of the Henry Moore Foundation. Other examples from this edition are housed in the permanent collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (8/9) and the Henry Moore Foundation (AP 1).

Full Cataloguing

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $277,200

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261


20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021